04 July 2010

Clear mysteries

Okay, Budak, or Hans Bertsch, or anyone who can please tell me what these are? The sea tosses up many clear mysteries, such as the brilliantly light-catching smile- or horseshoe-shaped "sausage jelly" ('sausage' if it's a blood sausage). This firm but quivery jelly (in a thin transparent casing) is actually the egg mass of the Polinices sordidus sea snail. It's delicious, like eating sea breeze, but don't come to me whinging, living or dead, if you get eat some & get sick. I like it but graze like any explorer, sometimes with consequences. The name sordidus must be to invoke a smile, but see also Harry Breidahl's perfect picture of the jelly (on the beach) and an equally common find there, the leathery "sand collar", along with his detailed explanations in Surveying Southern Shores. Like these egg masses, so transparent that you can see the little grains of sand suspended in them, and many jellyfish

. . . and conga lines of diamond-blue crystal-clear jelly bodies of salps, some shaped like 1960s rocket ships–transparent creatures and their castoffs catch the sun and photograph best on the beach itself.

I didn't have my camera with me today so here is a flotsam mystery x 3, found within a few footsteps of each other, lapped by tide. Each is hollow with a hole at each end. The smell is just ozone, nothing fishy or spongy or sea-squirtish about them. They have the same smell as a shark's egg case, as if the smell is faint from what was once there. They are tough and rubbery, like polycarbonate diving goggles or the nose pieces of spectacles.

Here they are on a light table:
and here, on a dinner plate where the shadow shows more than the solid.

And now backlit by the sun with a bit of harsh defining, and a closer look.

These look as if, at the least, these cases housed a mid-life yabby (Callianassa australiensis) or other crustacean, even though what one can see of the insides look like life-sustaining breathing apparatuses for some mini skitterer-to-be from Alien. Each looks as if it had something curled up there, and there is a distinct backbonish look to one edge of each. Of course, yabbies and such are spineless.

But what if (please let this be true) these are travelling suits shed at the landing of a visitation of not one, but three, fallible fiends? The cases or suits or whatever they are above, look like they would fit. I don't know who painted Zdim, the delightful fiend below, or whether Zdim was happy with L. Sprague de Camp's scribe-work in taking down his words (in one of the best satires of the 20th century) or even whether the painting is truly accurate (there's never a camera when you need one) but he looks like he needs friends. And a fiend is always fun if you can fit him in your buttonable pocket.

In ignorance, there is hope.

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