Hundreds of Purple Octopus Moms Are Super Weird, and They're Doomed
By January Gill O'Neil
I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden in the shade.
-- Ringo Starr
The article called it “a spectacle.” More like a garden than a nursery:
hundreds of purple octopuses protecting clusters of eggs
while clinging to lava rocks off the Costa Rican coast.
I study the watery images: thousands of lavender tentacles
wrapped around their broods. Did you know there’s a female octopus
on record as guarding her clutch for 53 months? That’s four-and-a-half years
of sitting, waiting, dreaming of the day her babies hatch and float away.
I want to tell my son this. He sits on the couch next to me clutching his phone,
setting up a hangout with friends. The teenage shell is hard to crack.
Today, my heart sits with the brooding octomoms: not eating, always on call,
always defensive, living in stasis in waters too warm to sustain them.
No guarantees they will live beyond the hatching. Not a spectacle but a miracle any of us survive.
"I was reading an article about how female octopuses nurture their offspring, and I was taken aback at the lengths they will go to protect their hatchlings," O'Neil told Poets.org. "I thought about my own teenage children -- protecting them while giving them space...teaching my kids how to live without me."
The spectacular fall weather continues -- it was warmer during the day on Thursday, during which I was somewhat slow and sluggish from staying up so late watching the Nationals beat the Dodgers in extra innings, but now it's beautiful and cool and I'd never shut the doors if only my neighbor who smokes wasn't out puffing away on the deck. I went to the park to walk and I stopped by my parents' house with a sewing question, where I saw a mom and two nearly-adult fawns on their neighbor's lawn.
Paul and I went to Giant for cat food and some people food, plus I went to CVS, which ripped me off by refusing to let me use my $4 off $18 hair coupon. My mother had given us a Rosh Hashanah challah with raisins, so Paul made French toast for dinner with that, plus cheesy eggs and veggie bacon. Then we watched the end of the Mystics' championship game, which was very exciting, followed by the Patriots-Giants game, which was less so. Pics of Chestertown's beautiful waterfront last weekend: