Aliens on Our Planet

Aliens on Our Planet
Clump of oyster shells on the beach at low tide, with barnacles and tiny snails on them, looking a bit like aliens with weird faces.

Aliens were trending on twitter yesterday. No, not terrestrial aliens like the ones in the picture. (However, I’ll talk about them below). But EXTRA-terrestrials, the kind from another planet.

Apparently, the New York Times reported on them yesterday. Well, on efforts to learn more about them. The US Office of Naval Intelligence is studying UFOs. Some researchers worry the UFOs are secret foreign weapons. But others believe the objects are not of this earth.

Forgive me, but I am not excited about this.

First, the news from the Pentagon can’t possibly be good. Why would the Pentagon leak this? Probably to justify more military spending. So we can develop the Space Force and pretend to prepare for the alien invasion.

Second, most people think of aliens as humans from another planet. Who, they ask, would explore space? Only creatures who think like humans do. And what would they be looking for? Their kin species.

But our planet hosts so many different species. With so many kinds of intelligence. Surely, other planets do too. So, if aliens come looking for their kin, they might be hoping to meet oysters. Or poison ivy. Or even magnesium.

Third, there’s so much for me to learn about the alien life forms among us! In fact, today at the beach, I met some. I felt like I was on another planet. The tide was low and the mud flats were wide. So, I walked out. The wet sand was dotted with seaweed and clam shell tops. Closer to the water, I saw barnacle colonies growing on rocks. Tide pools with little crabs rushing to hide from my shadow. Burrowing sand dollars. Tiny periwinkle snails and slim auger snails cuddled up around oysters.

Then, suddenly, I understood! I was walking on the ocean floor. The tide had uncovered it. Giving me, a land-based creature, a peek into another world. One whose atmosphere is water, not air. Normally, I can’t visit Planet Ocean without special equipment. Because I can’t breathe there. But, today, I got the chance.

Yes, I know the tide does this every day. But today it awakened my wonder.

Photo credit: Rathtrevor Beach, Parksville, BC, by Laura Duhan-Kaplan

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