Smell of the Sea
By Tom Mahony
“What’s that smell?” my son asked as we walked along the sand.
“The smell of the sea, Laddie,” I said in my best salty brogue.
“Kelp.” I pointed to the slippery brown piles near the high tide line. “Washed ashore by winter storms.”
The boy frowned. “It stinks. Let’s go home.”
“Ignore the smell and consider this. Kelp is like a forest under the sea. It grows two feet a day, changes the light and chemistry of the oceans, and provides food and shelter for countless animals. It dampens currents and chop, great for surfing. People use it in toothpaste and ice cream and tons of other things. It’s incredible stuff.”
The boy listened closely, eyes widening as he studied the kelp and nodded.
Then he turned to me. “It stinks. Let’s go home.”