These grotesquely beautiful creatures litter the Gulf shores of South Padre
Sometimes referred to as jellyfish, their correct name is Portuguese man o’war. Some mornings, thousands of these blue critters are scattered on the shore. It is said their tentacles deal a painful sting even when castaway on the sand. I keep my distance, and I make sure my dog does, too.
One can drive legally on the beach here on South Padre Island (with a permit), and one day during high tide we couldn’t avoid the inflatable bodies of the man o’wars (men o’war?). They popped like popcorn that’s been in the microwave 90 seconds.
Their bodies are filled with a combination of carbon monoxide, nitrogen, oxygen and argon, according to a Wikipedia post on the subject.
I wonder as I walk or run by them on the beach what it must be like to be washed up carelessly on the beach, unable to control my destination. I feel sorry for them to be victims of vehicle tires or the hot sun.
Then I realize I have almost as little control over my puny little human life.