Friday, August 28, 2009

Come Out of Your Shell

Marina has been in a knitting frenzy lately. This little guy became a gift for one of my nephews in California. All of those legs made the hermit crab take a bit longer than her usual project, but I think it was well worth it.

I happen to love hermit crabs. They are such unique creatures. Not as scary as a regular crab and not slimy like a snail. I had a few as pets when I was a child. They are shy creatures, hiding in their shell when they are startled. I remember sitting quietly with the hidden creature on my palm. It was always a thrill when it would slowly emerge. First its little "whiskers," testing the air. Next its eyes would peek out from under the rim of the shell. If it felt safe, legs would spill out and it would walk around, always ready to retreat into the safety of its mobile home at a moment's notice.

Unlike snails, when a hermit crab gets too big for its shell, it is time to move. House shopping usually involves finding a shell the next size up. You may think all hermit crabs instinctively look for a shell that is a perfect fit, but we once witnessed a crab dragging a shell along that was at least two sizes too large. It was a wonderful learning opportunity. I pointed out the different hermit crabs on the beach. The kids (back then it was only Marina and Chase) noticed how the crabs that fit their shells could quickly move across the sand and climb over obstacles while the crab with the large shell moved slowly. His shell left a furrowed line behind him, as if he were plowing a field. He may have thought his shell was nice and roomy, but it left him much more vulnerable to predators than his fast moving friends.

Sometimes I feel like that hermit crab. I think about how nice it would be to have a bigger home with more room. But a bigger house is not a good solution. To paraphrase George Carlin, a house is a place to keep your stuff. You get a bigger house because you have too much stuff.

I don't want to have my stuff hold me back. I would rather make the effort to declutter than to save piles of things. It is also better for my health if I have a more open area, since it is easier to keep clean. I've been decluttering a lot since I built my bookcase. I want to have room for Sierra to dance or for me to do yoga. I'm getting there, little by little. It's an ongoing process.

I hope the hermit crab found another shell. Your possessions shouldn't hold you back.

And so another lesson from watching animals...

If the shell fits, wear it.


Aimee said...

That is so cute! I wish I could knit!

~*~The Family~*~ said...

Wow she is really a talented knitter. Love her choice of colors.

Keeley said...

LOVE the hermit crab. Man, are your children TALENTED!

I absolutely loved your thoughts about "bigger shells" and totally agree. I feel overwhelmed by this house and wish we had bought a smaller one when we had the chance. But, of course, the rest of the family voted for this one. *sigh*

We say all the time in our family, "The more stuff you own, the more stuff owns you."

Much better to live light. My fantasy is to sell everything buy an RV and travel for the rest of my life. =D

This is an awesome article:

Mama Teaching 2 said...

I am sitting here in adult awe of Mrs. M's knitting!!!! I am a begginer crocheter and boy I am jealous of her mad skills.

Inner Elder said...

I must add that the knitted hermit crab stands up well. His new owner, Aidan age 4 has been sleeping with him and he's still in one piece. Marina, this was a knitty masterpiece!

Tina, great observations on the hermit shells. You got it right. Love, Mom/Grandma

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