I find Sea Urchins to be beautiful and mesmerizing. Thousands of miles away from where I am now, on a deserted beach in Costa Rica, very near Panama I would lay speckled, black sand mingling with my freckles and watch them in the tidal pools. The pools were part of my daily entertainment and they filled me with wonder. They were temporary and tenuous, constantly in flux. Their form lasting one day, and one day only, never to delight again in the exact same way. Where the sweetwater meets the saltwater, strange things would come to gather, and mingle in a dance the way two worlds do when they meet. Often trapped in these pools I would find sea urchins, cut-off from their ocean environment, lost from their world.
Sometimes mine would be the benevolent hand to return them to the sea. Their purple spines gather, at a touch, and swell to meet your fingertip, contracting in defense. Turn them over in your hand and their mouth, like a miniature vagina dentata, is all triangular white teeth and monstrous looking. Water clings to their spines with ever so curved barbs on them that hold droplets of water so hesitantly. I love to watch them move, so organically, instinctively, sensuously.
Sometimes, I would leave it in its quickly evaporating home, watch it parch, watch it dry in the tropical sun, until it was lethargic, dying, stiff. When death comes to a sea urchin, its spines are lost, its devilish mouth gone. Fire ants come marching, and eat it, clean away. A circular cap, bumpy and segmented is all that remains, looking like a spider monkey's teacup.
Once, while eating a breadfruit and drinking a pipa, a large, languid iguana came to call. He smelled the perfume of my cast away rinds and munched silently at my side on my leftovers, likewise pondering the surf, the wind and my urchin shell. As I could tell he coveted it greatly, I made it a gift to him as a hat, and he liked it quite well I think.