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The tidal pool.

A winding path leads over windswept dunes to the base of a lighthouse. There in the dawn, the tide pulls away from the crumbling structure and reveals long-forgotten stairs. Lying in the shadows beneath the stairsteps, a tidal pool ripples with life.

A hermit crab hides in the rocky crevices awaiting the changing tide. It peeks shyly from its treasured whelk shell. Eyestalks stretch, searching nooks and crannies for tidbits of food. The crab's eight legs drag its heavy home along for the ride.

Nestled against the last step, crusty barnacles curtsy and sway like ballerinas on a stage. Their featherlike arms swirl, fanning the salt water. They dance to the tide's rhythm.

A slow-moving sea star glides gracefully over the rocks to the bottom of the pool. Its slender arms reach in five directions at once. Which arm will take the lead? Perhaps the one that finds a clam hidden beneath the sand.

Just above the waterline where the steps are still wet, sea kelp clings to the rock. Sea anemones hide their bodies from the sun. Fiddler crabs scamper up and down the stairs like children playing on a slide. Overhead, a sea gull rides the wind, hoping to grab a crab for dinner.

As the sun sinks slowly past the dunes, and the moon shines a path to the shore, the tide returns. Washing over the long-forgotten stairs, the sea reclaims the tidal pool. The creatures within cling to the steps to await the next changing tide.
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Author:D'Amelio, Donna
Publication:Children's Playmate
Article Type:Brief article
Date:May 1, 2006
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