Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Lilac

So today we had a sudden shower. It came out of nowhere, little pebbles of water from the sky. Bullets hitting kevlar waves. When this happened I happened to be on The Lilac. The Lilac is a 1930s lighthouse tender for the New York City Harbor. Its paint is like scales with rust in between from the years of floating in the Hudson River Estuary. The water poured onto the lower deck where my boss and I were checking the traps, which look like two wire trash bins placed together whose bottoms are inward facing funnels, and the crap traps, like chicken wire squares with an entrance. We throw the blue crabs whose back legs are paddles onto the deck and press our feet on them. When they admit we are dominant I grab right behind the claws, measure them, and drop them in the bucket. There were toadfish as well, all head and tail. They have spines behind their heads that you can't see but you can feel. The rain started real bad when we had finished checking the traps and were replacing a broken trap and one that was missing, gone from the end of its leash. Because of the rain we had to dodge waterfalls from rust holes in the upper deck and pipes with gaps. The water didn't fully go through the holes in the side of the ship, instead pooling at some points. It had stopped by the time we had gotten to the broken trap and there was a rainbow on the water of the Hudson. Upon leaving with our catch I saw parents and children coming out to play again in the sprinklers of the playground, playing in the water after hiding from the rain. Upon stepping on the concrete I felt like it was moving with the river underneath, and even now I can feel my flesh move up and down with invisible waves, as if one leg was lead and the other dead. When we got back to the wetlab we checked on the crabs from yesterday. The big one had killed one of the smaller ones, pulling its legs off for a meal, but the one we had feared would be eaten, the one with only one claw, was fine, scowling at us in a corner. His claw was regrowing, a miniature seemingly held close to the body with a mucous spread. He was better off than one of his fellow prisoners, placed in with the horseshoe crab, a helmet, nearly the definition of protection, due to lack of defense. A double amputee, hiding under the oyster trays.


  1. My first response was: Wow this sounds really happy and cool! and then I got to the cannibalistic prisoner crab portion :)

    enjoyed the post

  2. It's thunderstorming here now. The best part about summer! Unless you happen to be in a boat I suppose...