Periwinkle – #JusJoJan 2023

Welcome to day ten of Just Jot It January for 2023. Today’s word is periwinkle.

When Linda asked for words for the month, periwinkle was the first thing that popped into my mind.

I do not know why I write so much nostalgia. I suppose I have so many lovely memories from my childhood, I feel they are worth sharing. I also want to document an easier and simpler time – at least it was easier and simpler in my mind.

The streams and creeks come up frequently in my writing. Today will be no different.

As kids, we spent our time equally divided between the creeks and dry land. If we wanted to get from one side of the creek bank, we either ‘jumped rocks’ or waded if the creek was shallow enough. We swam or innertubed in the creeks for recreation. Our meals often came from the creeks – it’s hard to beat fresh rainbow trout!

The creeks were also a place of discovery for us. We turned over rocks looking for crawdads and we would shriek when we found a large one. We learned they always retreat backwards, so if you hope to catch one, get behind it. We stayed off of rocks that were covered in moss, because underwater that moss was as slick as ice. You would surely find yourself dumped in the creek in a heartbeat. There were harmless water snakes, and water spiders that danced across the top of the water. Small freshwater springs often bubbled up through the bottom of the creek bed and that water was cold!

Among all those discoveries were also periwinkle – a small freshwater mollusk (a periwinkle is a type of snail) that clings to the rocks. We generally paid little attention to them, but they are actually quite interesting creatures. Occasionally we would pull one from the rocks and they would just tumble to the creek bed. What I did not know back then is that they are gilled snails, meaning they can breathe under water. Their shell opening is almost always open to the right, and they also have an operculum which closes off the opening when needed. They also have a conical shape rather than a round shape.

The sad part of life these days is that these tiny creatures like so much on our planet are at risk and their numbers are diminishing. Pollution, rerouting of streams, mining runoff, and destruction of natural habitat are all factors in their slow decline. Maybe this is another reason I write so much about my childhood. It serves as history.

Written as part of Linda Hill’s JusJoJan.

Prompt word today (periwinkle) submitted by Maggie (that’s me) from From Cave Walls.