I grew up in Alaska, where my playground was the seaside. Our beaches were different though. Covered in dark, jagged rocks, protected from the road by thick, evergreen trees. The air smelled of more than simple sea air, it smelled of brine. And the only sounds would be of the eagles, and the wind, and the waves. When tide was low and the brine was at its strongest, small pools of sea would collect in the divits and grooves of the rocks. They would be full of fluffy sea anemones, and scuttling hermit crabs, and sea snails. So many snails. We used to try to take them home with us, ignorant of the fact they’d dry up and die without the sea. Small, soft creatures, protected by a hard shell. A small round disc that fit perfectly over the opening like a front door. I sometimes feel like that. A small sea snail. Soft and vulnerable hiding inside a beautiful shell. Too afraid to come out. And I have been inside my shell with the door closed so long, all that’s left inside is a dry, withered husk..