One In a Million

image(I wrote this column many years ago, but it’s still relevant.)
As summer draws to its inevitable conclusion, many of us will bring home tokens of the season from our vacations. And those of you who make a yearly pilgrimage to the beach with young children in tow just might find yourselves taking care of little hermit crabs over the winter.
Because even though they were bought for your children, these pets are so simple to care for that they’re also easy for their young masters to forget about. In the past two years, I’ve flushed the lifeless remains of two hermit crabs down the toilet and searched the yard in vain for the rascal that ran away when my son lost interest in watching it.
However, my daughter’s hermit crab, dubbed “Cricket” because of her green-hued shell, is still alive — one year later — and likes to climb up my shirt sleeve while I’m cleaning the multi-colored stones of her plastic abode.
In general, I am against the zoo mentality of keeping wild creatures in a cheesy artificial environment, but as Cricket was plucked from the wire mesh side of a huge cage full of kaleidoscopic shells in the shop where she cost under $5, (not including cage and accessories) her kind seemed expendable.
However, that spindly-legged crustacean has taught me that every one of God’s creations, no matter how small, is worthy of love and respect — claws and all.
We all take on a nameless, faceless existence when we’re in a crowd of strangers — and the same holds true for hermit crabs as it does for people. But when one of us is set apart to be possessed and cared for, our own unique qualities just naturally shine through.
Looking at the world through its details is much more interesting than seeing only a blur of people, places and things, but we often forget to take the time to relax and really live as we rush through our lives, intent on reaching a destination we can’t even comprehend.
Living amongst plastic palm trees in a coconut shell hut, Cricket kept memories of summer alive, because even when the snow was falling thick and frosty, Cricket’s world stayed locked in a perpetual beach scene. And our home became a nicer place because of one little hermit crab.
Try keeping your eyes trained on the minutes instead of the months; the individuals in the crowds; and the grains of sand that make up the beach. The multitude of memories you accrue will last a lifetime.
© Jill Cueni-Cohen