So there we were – taking a lovely Sunday stroll along the picturesque Nyack Beach, showing our Brooklyn friends Josie and Steve that the suburbs aren’t so scary after all. (More accurately, we were proving this to ourselves long after it was necessary – this path along the Hudson always makes our decision to leave NYC a no-brainer.) Things were going smoothly, even swimmingly, as we headed toward an enclave my husband and I have nicknamed Maui, where there are a bunch of trees and a few picnic tables that remind of us a spot where we stopped briefly during our honeymoon sojourn in Hana.
We said: “Would you like to walk to Maui?”
Josie and Steve, ever up for adventure, answered: “Sure!”
They were washed up on the beach: hundreds of them, maybe thousands, it was obviously an invasion of some sort. Though inanimate, they threatened us with their sharp claws and pointy fangs and caused us to shudder in our sneakers. We would have covered our eyes in horror, if we weren’t so intrigued. We mustered the courage to collect a few specimens and cornered them on a nearby picnic table. Then the four of us sat there and pondered what on earth these strange things might be. Here is what we came up with:
- Petrified bat babies
- Freeze-dried gremlins
- Devil droppings
- Part of an infant’s Darth Vader costume
- Discarded heads from a million defective Yoda dolls
- Cuff links of an evil scientist starring in a Tim Burton film
- Rotten alien teeth
- Dice of an all-too realistic board game called, Death
And most importantly, what could we do with them? Freakish as they were, making good use of them was my immediate instinct, and I began to gather them into my proverbial apron (a.k.a. lime green messenger bag). Here are a few of the options that came to mind:
- Craft a Halloween wreath
- Make a spiky hard core/gothic necklace like the one below, but with a more natural vibe. (Surely my jewelry designer friend could help me make this happen even though its not her usual oeuvre?)
- Attach handles and market them as maracas for ghosts, since shaking them did produce a faint jangling of smaller pieces inside. (First check Amazon to make sure these don’t already exist.)
- Take a photo and run away screaming, threatening to write a blog post about them. (Take that!)
- Leave them right where they are and act nonchalant. Once back in the safety of our home, calmly assure city friends that afternoon strolls around these parts aren’t usually so frightening. Then discreetly slip away in order to change into clean undies.
Here is what I ended up doing: I captured two of them in order to prove to non-believers that they do indeed exist. I stored them in a wrought-iron cage with multiple locks to prevent them from escaping. Then my husband consulted with our good friend Google. He discovered that they are in fact Eurasian Water Chestnut seedpods. While they are not known to attack humans, they are in fact nefarious and are clogging up local waterways. To quote LoHud.com, they are on New York “state’s most-wanted aquatic invasive-plant list.” I suspected that they were up to no good…
All kidding aside: don’t let the spookiest seedpods on earth keep you from visiting beautiful beautiful Nyack Beach! After a few more years of psychoanalysis, hypnosis, and PTSD treatments, I’m definitely going to go back there, too.