Tag Archives: beach

An Ode to Bones

4 Jun

I have been at the beach. I love the beach! I enjoy fishing at the beach and I love to look for seashells. When I was a child, I used to get up very early, “at the crack of dawn” so the southern saying goes, and walk along the seashore looking for seashells, which are technically the calcified external skeletons of mollusks. I only wanted to find the perfect ones…sand dollars, olive shells, conch shells, etc. I did not want imperfect specimens!

The beach that we went to last week has mostly broken shells. The perfect ones are difficult to find, especially now that I am older and “getting up early” means after the sun and everyone else have been up awhile. I have to have a cup of coffee before I can think of what it is I want to do next.

Last week, however, was my week for finding BONES that had washed up on the beach. I am fairly certain they are fish bones. (At least, I hope so!) I know that they are not shark bones because sharks don’t have bones. They have skeletons of cartilage, which makes them very flexible creatures; however, they do have calcifications in their vertebrae. I caught two sharks last week. Bones or no bones, they DO have teeth, which makes them challenging to get off the hook! I successfully released them back into the water. The last time I was at this particular beach, I caught a shark that was about 30” long. More cartilage, bigger teeth.

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Being an XLH-er, I have a particular interest in bones. My endocrinologist told me in May that he thought that it was ironic that folks with XLH can’t properly make good, hard bone, but our bodies are good (unfortunately) at forming calcifications outside of the joints, like around the knees or in the back, as we get older. I guess our bones are similar to the skeltons of sharks…more like cartilage! Soft…too soft, really. And those aggravating calcifications…

The bones that I found last week at the beach have a beauty of their own. I presume they are fish bones. If they are not, then I may have evidence from a crime scene. These look like part of a vertebrae to me.

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Here’s a close up shot where you can actually see the porous texture of the bone.

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Unfortunately, in order for me to enjoy the beauty of these ocean-worn boney remains, the fish had to meet their maker.

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But be reassured…no fish met its maker while I was fishing last week. In fact, several were fed quite well with the bait that I supplied them!

So, here’s a toast to bones…soft ones, hard ones, normal ones, abnormal ones. Not only are they important to our bodies, the English language also has many idioms using the words “bone” or “bones.” Something can be “bone dry” and you can “work your fingers to the bone.” Ouch! You can have a “bone to pick” or you can “make no bones about it.” Children learn to say at an early age, “Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” (Which, as adults, we know is not true!) A search of the Bible, including the Old Testament (Hebrew scriptures) and the New Testament, comes up with more than 75 verses that use the word “bones” in either a literal or metaphorical sense. I like Proverbs 14:30, which says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Note to self: don’t be envious!

Bones…take care of them! Reduce your caffeine intake, cut out the carbonated drinks (one website referred to sodas as “Osteoporosis in a Can”) and exercise as much as you are able (and it doesn’t get much better than a walk on the beach.) This advice I am giving to myself as much as anybody…summer is almost here and I do love an occasional cold diet soda. But I am going to try not to be envious or drink any more sodas…I definitely do not want to rot my bones, such as they are!

© S. G. Hunter and Banjogrrldiaries, 2012-2017