Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tiny Shells in Our Yard

Do you ever get tired of noise? Dogs barking, washing machine chugging, kids screaming or fighting or whining, TV blaring, and AC unit whirring?

About the only noise worse than all of the above happening at the same time, is when NONE of them are happening.

That's when full panic mode sets in. At least when the kids are fighting, screaming, breaking things, or whining, you know where they are and if they are relatively OK.

But what about when it's all quiet? Too quiet?

An immediate investigation must begin to discover what in the world they are doing that they should not be doing.

Phoebe is my fussy one. She's getting better, day by day, but usually she's making some kind of sound so I know where she is and approximately what she's doing.

One day a few weeks ago, there was no Phoebe noise. NONE. Upon immediate investigation, I found her outside, all alone, pacing back and forth across the dirt/weed/thorny desert we call our backyard.

Carrying a black and white striped sock.

Every few steps, she would bend down, pick up something small from the ground, and put it in her sock.

Then she would walk some more. Back and forth, back and forth. She was alone, quiet, studious, and oblivious to the world around her.

For a split second I felt guilty about assuming she was up to no good. Sometimes assumptions are just wrong.

"Hey, Phoebe! Whatcha doing? What are you collecting in that sock?"

Silently, she held up a small, spiral shaped shell no bigger than an M&M.

Here's an example of the shells she was finding in our yard.

She had collected dozens of them! This is just a small sample of the amount she had accumulated in her sock.

I looked them up and found out what they are, but now I can't remember nor find them again on the internet. But they are some type of ground snail that can be found the world over, which prefer dry, hot climates, and evidently has found nirvana in our backyard.

Since then, Phoebe has been collecting shells from our yard and filling up her "fossil" sock. She's convinced they are fossils, not snail shells. That's cool. Whatever.

She carries that sock around all the time, sleeping with it, and even taking it with her on our camping trip to Big Bend. Her shells get around!

So now when the house is too quiet and Phoebe is MIA, I can usually find her shell-hunting in the backyard.

Or secretly putting on my make-up, eating a forbidden lollipop, while hiding my my closet.