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1284Flipping Crabs

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  • mandreox
    Jul 9, 2006
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      After the bunny, the most common critter in the iconography of Ray
      Johnson is the horseshoe crab. Early most mornings Ray liked to walk
      along one of New York's ocean beaches. Recently I too have been going
      for morning strolls along the Great Kills beach on Staten Island, and
      there sure are a lot of horseshoe crabs. Ray preferred the north shore
      of Long Island. When I wrote John Cage Shoes, I was essentially
      unfamiliar with ocean-dwelling crabs. I had Ray communicating with, as
      I recall, hermit crabs. The fact is, if there are crabs in Lake
      Ontario, I've never met them. But I have lately come to appreciate
      horseshoe crabs, particularly since their fate is entangled with the
      endangered red knots, a bird which lives on horseshoe crab eggs. I
      flip crabs over whenever I find them on their backs. If they seem
      really confused, heading too far inland at low tide, I pick them up
      with two sticks and carry them back to the ocean. Yesterday the
      horseshoe crabs were plentiful and plainly mating. A nest full of
      horseshoe crab eggs was hatching! They're unchanging but startling.