Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Barnacle of My Imagination

When I was a child, I collected seashells and rocks. These were fairly easy and cheap things for a child to collect, so my parents encouraged my collecting habit.

The prize of my collection was a barnacle. I don't remember where we got it, but we didn't buy it. We found it somewhere on a beach and it came to rest in a special spot on my shelf.

I liked this barnacle for two reasons. One, I had seen live barnacles on piers and ships, but never a hollow shell of a dead barnacle. Two, on the base of it was something that looked like a tiny skeleton. This skeleton looked to me like a very small dinosaur.

In my imagination, I owned a tiny T-Rex or similar dinosaur. I imagined the impressed adults when they finally discovered my tiny little dinosaur fossil (as I saw it). Credited with the discovery of a new species, I would stand with my little barnacle in my hand while people took my picture and credited me for knowing how important this was to science.

Although I have long stopped collecting shells, I still have a nice grouping of them displayed in one room. Since my family lived in the Philippines for two years when I was about eight years old, I have some very nice shells in my collection. I enjoy looking at them, as many of them are very beautiful.

Nestled in amongst the flashier pieces is the little barnacle, skeleton still intact. I doubt it is an important find or a little dinosaur (fossil or otherwise), although I still don't know what, in fact, it is. For me, it stands for my childhood, full of wonder and imagination, when I would gaze at a little skeleton-like item on the bottom of a barnacle and dream of great things.

If you know what my barnacle is, please let me know. It won't spoil the memory, and I've always been curious about its true nature.

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