Echinoderms are a phylum (Echinodermata) of five-based marine invertebrates including the ever-popular sea stars (“starfish”), as well as brittle stars, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, sand dollars, feather stars, sea lilies, and a wide variety of other delightful creatures. The Latin word Echinoderm literally means “spiny skin,” and all echinoderms have some level of spiky armor, which as a sort of prickly introvert I find inspiring.
This young lady has the right idea.
I recently took a poetry class at my college where I created a short book of poetry that I decided to base around the theme of what humans can learn from marine (and other) invertebrates. Entitled Invertebration, that class assignment has inspired my current personal trend in my philosophy and writing: how can I write like a human and let myself live and love like a sea star? Here are 5 lifestyle tips from the realm of echinoderms:
- If it’s closed, pry it open and drain every drop of its nourishing juices.
- If s/he climbs on top of you to get closer to the sun, you climb right on top of him/her and get even higher.
- If the tides are crashing and trying to wrench you away from your rock, solidify your malleable form to fit the place you want to be, and harden your musculature so nothing can pull you away.
- If it bites off your armored arms, grow back more colorful and stranger arms with fancier spikes.
- If it piques your instinct, seize and devour it.
Image credits in order of appearance:
By E. M. Grosse – The echinoderm fauna of Torres Strait: its composition and its origin (1921) Clark, Hubert Lyman, 1870-1947, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38650232
By Sebastian Grajales – Colombia, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5102157
By Steven Pavlov – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16279384