The Crawfish Tale

Lately, we’ve been getting rain. A lot of it.

I think it might have rained 105 days in a row.

Okay, perhaps that’s a Hungarian exaggeration, but trust me. We’ve gotten a lot of rain.

A pond has sprung up in the back field and the driveway looks like a murky river. It’s so bad, in fact, that aquatic life resides in our potholes.

Like this fella that Martin found while walking the dog down the drive.

Now, I haven’t the foggiest idea how a crawfish found his way to our gravel drive. We’re at least a mile and a half from the river — that’s a marathon in crustaceans’ strides.

It’s possible that a bird scooped him up as a snack and then dropped him mid-flight, and he landed in the pothole. Possible, but pretty random and farfetched. All that I know is that he arrived alive and pinching.

We relocated him to a pickle jar and offered him some sustenance: stinkbugs and salami — both of which are plentiful in our house. He turned up his nose (doubtful that he has a nose), but was otherwise content in his pickle jar.

And then we put him to work. It was off to daycare for show-and-tell (no doubt a traumatic visit that included a lot of shrieking and jar shaking). But there was a reward: he won his freedom by the river.

The trails were too soft and squishy for the gator, so at dusk, I loaded up the kids and drove to the closest parking lot/boat launch. It was nearly dark and I worried that we’d be slogging through a swampy bog to the river’s edge. But the river came to us; it had crested the banks and flooded the long trail, covering the sandbar. The water was just 6 feet shy of the car park.

Since I’ve never seen crawfish in our river, I was surprised to find a sign with a crawfish diagram greeting us on arrival… explaining how to slice its head off.

Cayden eyed the sign with concern. What does it say? Does it say we have to kill the crawfish? What’s invasive mean?

I looked at Cayden, and the sign, and the illegal, pickle jar-dwelling crawfish.

It says…it says...I stammered….that this crawfish should be…

really happy living here, I said, ducking into the brush when a car slowed for a look.

I nudged Cayden and he lowered the jar and tipped it sideways. The cray scuttled into the water and settled by some rocks and decaying leaves submerged below. He looked happy.

As happy as an invasive crustacean can be.