#NewThisDay Writing From My Photo Stream
It was misty warm on my walk and I stopped to read a sign that hangs at the entrance to Longboat Key Beach where I walk in the morning and I am walking in a wrack community, I realize, and I didn’t know there was a name for this habitat, and I suppose I should have. Now I know how to notice, even more, what I am seeing when I kneel down in the crushed shells and washed up weeds: beach hoppers and fungi. It’s like the woods, the floor of the woods, where there are unseen worlds, vital to life, vital to a healthy habitat. As wrack ages, I read, it provides for the growth of other organisms. I have wrack in me. In my womb where the babies were. Yes. Little organisms, big ideas, creative impulses. Why shouldn’t they sprout there? I listen to a podcast, Mary Pipher is being interviewed on On Point, about her book, Women Rowing North - Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing as We Age. Not a single word she says is news to me; but I am excited that her book is out, (that many, many people will read and be influenced by it), and that she is changing the cultural conversation about women and aging:
Contrary to cultural stereotypes, many older women are deeply happy. A 2014 Brookings Institute study on happiness and age found that people are least happy in their twenties, thirties, and early forties, and steadily gain an appreciation for life as they age. Indeed, most women become increasingly happy after age fifty-ﬁve, with their peak of happiness toward the very end of life. ~ Mary Pipher
Quick Facts about Wrack
Wrack is mostly made up of seaweed (i.e. kelp) and surfgrass.
No plants or seaweeds can grow in the unstable, wave-washed sand of the beach. As a result, beach animals rely largely upon sources of food, like seaweed wrack, that drift onto shore from other ecosystems.
Wrack supports an entire food web of beach critters including beach hoppers, roly polies, flies, and predatory rove beetles, as well as snowy plovers and other shorebirds.
40% of the invertebrate animal species living on sandy beaches depend on wrack!
When wrack decomposes, it becomes rich fertilizer for surrounding ecosystems.
Piles of wrack trap and store sand helping dunes form. Dunes can protect coastal communities from flooding, especially during storms.
While beach grooming provides flat, clean expanses of sand for recreation, it also removes all the benefits that wrack can provide to a beach ecosystem.
Climate change may alter how much kelp grows offshore, the energy in waves, and the shape of beaches and, consequently, the amount of wrack deposited on the beach.
Source: University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106