“You must have Mondays,” I heard called out to me as my dog and I rushed from horseshoe crab to horseshoe crab turning them over along the beach with the sun rising to our right.
Horseshoe crabs are magnificent. I love when a tourist runs in from a beach comb exclaiming “look at this ‘prehistoric’ creature I found.” They are correct; horseshoe crabs have changed little over the past 300 million years.
Maybe you know about horseshoe crabs through the incredible “Green Eggs and Sand” teacher workshop put on by University of Georgia Marine Extension Service on Skidaway Island and co-sponsored by Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Or maybe your kids are like mine and share their excitement from the wonderful camps at the Oatland Wildlife Center.
Or perhaps you learned about them through the Tybee Island Marine Science Center whose mission is to shape a responsible stewardship of Coastal Georgia’s natural resources through marine science-based education, conservation and research.
Our local resources are endless and the best, of course, are our beaches.
From a scientific, technology and innovation perspective, the horseshoe crab is fascinating. This declining species is valued by medical experts around the globe.
Medical device and pharmaceutical industries use an extract turned into a powder to test whether their medical devices, vaccines and intravenous drugs are safe from bacterial contamination.
It is so valuable that the Atlantic horseshoe crab’s blood is harvested, which involves collecting and bleeding the animals before releasing them back into the ocean. Fortunately 85-97 percent of them survive this process when conducted properly by trained scientists.
Unfortunately, because a quart of horseshoe crab blood can be worth more than $15,000, the New York Police Department and others have had to arrest criminals caught stealing horseshoe crabs off the beaches by the hundreds.
Now you see why my alarm is set for 5:50 a.m. and I head straight to the beach to start flipping horseshoe crabs. Too often the tide recedes too quickly leaving them on dry sand, flipped onto their heavy protective shells and unable to correct course.
From an emotional perspective, I am moved. Personally, I too know the experience of being flat on my back, hopeless by the weight of my own choices and stuck.
In those situations, I was helped by others and thus have three things to say to all those caring people in my past:
First, thank you for lifting me, flipping my perspective and leading me to safety.
Second, I am sorry I snapped my claws at you when all you were trying to do was help.
Third, and most excitingly, I now know your joy of helping others succeed. The exhilaration of seeing someone’s new business about to start is like none other.
I experience this thrill each day at The Creative Coast. Entrepreneurs come in, call or email, often ready to give up and totally weighed down by the stresses of launching or growing a company.
Often a quick introduction to a new resource, a different perspective or a simple word of encouragement sets them back on course, enthusiastic about the possibilities and ready to conquer every obstacle.
“You must have Mondays” was a question, not a comment. It came from John, a 76-year-old retiree pulling a wheely tackle box/fishing gear contraption for an early morning cast.
John went on to explain that he is a member of the neighborhood “HCPS” (Horseshoe Crab Preservation Society) and assumed I was too.
Ah, coordinated and organized “do-gooders,” that’s a thought. Again, I saw the parallel with The Creative Coast: More than 5,500 brilliant innovators regularly engaging with us, and each other, through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and programs such as Tedx Creative Coast or FastPitch.
It is in these interactions where the sun truly rises.