Written by Brian Daily

February 11th, 2007


In my life I was born to be a crab. First my shell was soft when I was a kid. I would engulf every sound, sight and feeling of my environment. Perspective would be so sensitive to me, and I would believe in everything. The sand was warm and comforting. Itís the place I lived and I would look at everything with fervor.  Quickly I grew up. My shell hardened and got strong. I learned the ability to shut out any sharp stick or deflect any rolling stone. No damage done. My shell became my barrier. It was a wall with me inside and the world out. I didnít have to let anything get through to me.  No grubby little fingers were ever going to tickle my flesh. No crawling under my skin. My shell, all mine.


I started first to build a home. Something I would be comfortable with, just a meek hole in the sand. Darkness! I embraced it. Yeah! Me, my thick deflecting amour and darkness. This home of mine was plain and simple. It was all I needed and I didnít venture out of my cozy cove. A place that was just for me. No one could boss me around or chop me down with vindictiveness. My core! All alone! I was getting used to the dread of loneliness. I might have even preferred it that way. At least I knew how it worked. All I knew was to be comfortable in an abyss.


One day I wanted to dig deeper and I found something. It was a plastic shovel buried in the sand. I didnít know what it was at the time. It blocked my way, it would not budge. I couldnít break it or push it. It just stymied my digging progression. I thought I could go around it, but something else struck me. Could there be something out above ground that was as solid, steadfast and languish as me?  I did know that there was a place above ground; I wasnít that reclusive. The surface was where I threw all the dug up sand of my cave. When I was a kid I used to run around along the beach and play with the waves. But, that was ages ago and I could not remember anything other than my dark cave anymore. I couldnít even remember what I was. Maybe I should check it out again, find this rival and challenge it to the thickest shell competition. I would out melancholy any body or any thing.


I took a peak out the hole where I would pile up a heap of sand. My two green eyes poked out first and swirled around. Blast! A bit blinded by the sun. I felt the heat of sun radiate energy upon my shell. Where am I? What am I? Oh yeah, a lonely crab with a thick shell. Thatís right! My eyes shot pestering gleams across the beach. I viewed all of it, the waves, the clouds the creatures and even the plants. It seemed like an alien world I had visited once before a long time ago. I ventured on, climbing out of the hole. I shuffled my legs to glide across the contouring beach. While swaying and swinging I shifted my weight to walk. My arms chattered when I took my first few steps. Unexplainably my heart pounded. What was I doing? Where should I go? My arms were weak and clumsy at holding up my tremendous shell when I glided along. This thick, dumb and heavy shell would careen my weight off balance. Sometimes I crashed into a heap of exhaustion.


I crawled along the beach until I was in a bright green clump of grass. I ventured forth in the grass to explore; brazen and fool hearted.  Was I feeling wanderlust? I also realized something about myself that I never noticed before. I had these giant claws. So I sliced and chopped every blade of grass I came across. I pilled the green shards into minced salad. Is this what claws are for? All I can do is cut things to shreds. Why canít I feel the grass? Why canít I be gentle? Why do I have to just destroy everything with my thick shell and sharp claws? Canít I grab it, hold it and pull it close to me. Maybe that is just what I am a lonely crab after all? Thatís where I will always be. 


I gazed around again. Coconut trees swayed gently back and forth. The fragrance of sweet flowers transcended through the air. Purple, red, pink and yellow of vibrant shades enhanced the visual surroundings. There was also deep blue wisdom that expanded beyond the edges of earth. Waves produced a hypnotic rhythm of rumbling noise. I saw many creatures walking and talking about. The creatures laughed, regaled and sauntered about the shore with big heads and big smiles. There were also creatures with slobbering tongues dangling from gigantic grins. So much happiness! Is it infectious? There was so much to take in and I was hit with dizziness when I looked up. It was the sky, an infinite clear space above. Where all the mysteries of life are born, live and die. This was where all dreams, hopes, realizations and puzzles come from. The endless void of tranquility blankets this shore line and beyond all reaches of this land and ocean. Only the wind is clever and witty enough to indulge in the mysteries. Only the wind is obscure enough to only speak in whispers. It is full of riddles, games and tricks.


I decided to leave the beach feeling it wasnít my place anymore. I felt more secure buried deep in the sand. How about I build a huge castle for myself? I didnít need to dwell in a small burrow anymore. I would build a huge fortress. I set a slow pace across the sizzling sand thinking about my new home. My claws were on guard and ready to chop anything would stop me. I pondered the complex labyrinth. This would be my place, luxurious and grand. I crackled when I thought about when the laughing creatures would stumble upon my cave with their puzzled minds blown away. They would be impressed because this cave of mine is ingenious. They will be surprised to see what a crab can do. 


It took me awhile to find the right place. The area had to be spacious with no trees around. It had to be big enough so that the underground caverns stretched out further than the tunnels leading to the surface. I started building with one huge main tunnel. It was much wider than any crab will build. This tunnel had two entrances that joined together in one huge cavern. This required me to dig and dig and dig. Giant piles of sand amassed outside both entrances, as the wind helped disperse it.  It was exhausting day after day toiling the sand around. Building the main cavern alone took a few months. After finishing the main cavern, I dug a third tunnel that went deep and ended up below the main cavern. This tunnel dug so I could haul out sand for the rest my chambers below the main cavern. Branching out for all directions, I dug vertical shafts, spirals down and zig-zagging tunnels protruding off of the main cavern. These tunnels all lead down or horizontal to open up into smaller caverns. Then from the caverns more tunnels and more caverns diving deeper and deeper.  After I built seventeen smaller caverns, I stopped. Then the simplicity of darkness made me feel at home again. I crawled down to the deepest cavern and waited. I waited for everybody to come and see my gigantic catacombs. I wish they could come and understand the simplicity of darkness and feel content with a deep loneliness like I do. 


One day when I was pondering the depth of my forlorn cave and justifying my self pity, a rumbling crash thundered through the layers of my caverns.  It was like a cascading ensemble of tubas, trombones, drums and gongs. The earth moaned in deep tones as the wicked eye of the sky taunted it. The profound pressure of the clouds lay heavy. The earth bellowed with every crack of lightning. It moaned, groaned, shivered and finally gave in. The sandy caverns collapsed and I was buried deep. I managed to wiggle out a pocket to breathe and feel a little more comfortable. Then I felt the trickle of water seeping through the sand. Before too long, the sand was saturated with water. The salty sting of the ocean pierced my lips. I still didnít quite know what was going on and the earth shook and trembled at every crack of lightning. Like no mercy to the slave cowering and trembling to the crack of a whip, the earth had no escape. Impulses of this thunderous sound filtered though my body and then deep into the core of the earth. Was this ire of the sky because of me? Did I do something wrong to upset the balance of life? All I could do was wait in this underwater bunker. The rumble seemed to go on for ever until suddenly it stopped. An unwarranted silence pursued, quite numinous in a way. My ears hummed as I waited for the next crash that never came. Exhausted, I slept woke up and uncovered myself.


My elaborate cove had completely collapsed, ruined in a decimated pit. Thing only thing left was my memory. I could remember the layout, and the loneliness. I could remember the worrisome waiting and anticipated discovery. I could remember the darkness and the calmness. The wallowing ticking of time wasnít there any more, but I could understand itís grim. This is all that was left, every trace of the caverns and tunnels were completely ruined.  


It was really bright at the surface. This time the beach had looked completely different, like I was in a foreign land. The beach was chewed up and mangled. Most of the sand was gone where sharp and jagged rocks remained. Coconut and palm trees lay scattered about the black rocks. Branches, leaves and shrubs were chopped up and lying all about the beach. The oceanís waves were brown and foamy, choked with dirt. All the creatures that once milled about were gone. As I looked around at the aftermath of pandemonium, I felt a bit frightened. The first time in my life I really ever got scared. Now, that the world is in shambles what do I do with my self? I sat down, looked around and took a deep breath.