I can still smell the ocean
When I was a child in the early 70s, this is what it was like to go to the beach at Galveston. The waves would roll back, there would be a brief pause, then thousands of these tiny shellfish would wriggle to the surface.
Technically they were edible, but they’re only about a quarter of an inch long so you’d have to have a lot of time on your hands to prepare enough for a meal. We just loved the vibrant colors and the motion.
They started disappearing in the 80s, and they’re pretty much all gone now.
There’s a huge, constantly expanding “dead zone” at the mouth of the Mississippi, caused by fertilizer and pesticide runoff, and I assume that zone finally expanded large enough to wipe them out.
It’s a pity. They were a joy.
An aside: Mom used to pack Chips Ahoy chocolate-chip cookies for our beach trips, and they would become soft and salty in the humid ocean air. I sometimes buy a bag at the grocery store, but they are crisp and fresh and don’t taste right to me.