The last time I was here, I was babysitting my granddogters for a few days. On one of our nightly walks, Juniper stuck her nose into a sand crab’s hole, then fell back with a dramatic yelp when the crab pinched her nose. Juniper and I had a talk about sticking our noses into other people’s homes.
This time, I’m here with a writer friend and Pearl. I’m plotting the next series, and Pearl is working on potty training. In the interest of furthering Pearl’s goal this week, we go outside every two or three hours (except overnight). Last night, we happened to walk past that same sand crab’s hole. Pearl, like Juniper, stuck her nose in. She jerked back before the crab could get her, but I saw the flash of its white legs as it scuttled back into its hole.
Pearl, instantly distracted by the next new scent, started digging a hole, so I had time to connect with the sand crab. I asked him why he liked to snap his claws at puppies’ noses. “I hate it,” he replied. “But you humans bring dogs and children into my kingdom, and none of you have a sense of boundaries. If I didn’t sit here ready to do battle, my hole would be dug up, and I’d be shredded by a dog’s claws or dumped into a plastic bucket and forgotten.”
This crab had been talking with other crabs, if not tapping into the collective consciousness of all Gulf Coast sand crabs, past and present. I thought about asking whether sand crabs liked to eat dog poop, or were they just doing their part to keep the beach clean? But then Pearl jerked at the leash, needing to dig a different hole somewhere else.
And anyhow, the cranky crab had retreated to the depths of his hole in the sand by then.