Warming the cockles of my heart
Thursday June 21st 2007, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Life,Non-Knitting

I always thought that was an odd phrase. I have asked my folks about it from time to time, they being gifted wordsmiths: does anybody have cold heart cockles? What’s a cockle, and does it truly have heart? Where on earth did that phrase come from? They didn’t know, and neither did our dictionary.

Shelle just came home from a college internship in marine biology–a few hours after her Sea Silk shawl arrived home via UPS. Cool. She spent several hours showing us pictures of things she’d studied, some weird, some wonderful. One of those crabs looked exactly, in the photo she took, like the tick I removed from her back after she came home from a week at camp one summer, with a bulls-eye of red rings around that bug. (They tested the bug and her both, no Lyme. Phew.)

Anyway. She brought me a few shells, and I had to show this: these are Heart Cockles. So named because when you see the intact shell from the side, it looks heart-shaped. But what I now love best about them, something I had thought to be just an ordinary white shell you see on probably every beach–kind of like sea gulls, something you take for granted, right?–was this: they are a favorite food of giant sea stars, which can move amazingly fast towards them. The heart cockles have one foot, which they stick out so they can run away from the sea star. How does such a thing run? It flips itself, over and over, a seashell version of a living Slinky, running away at a good clip. Does Pixar know about this?

I mentioned in my book that I’d made my first Monterey shawl for my friend Michelle, who is a dedicated marine biology enthusiast. I had no idea, when I wrote that, that my daughter Michelle was likewise going to become one. But I sure can see now why she is.

So good to have you home, sweetie.imgp2815.JPG

8 Comments so far
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Wow! Just goes to show that we learn something new everyday.

Comment by Amanda 06.22.07 @ 5:27 am

A “cockle” is also the chamber of a kiln. The “cockle” refers to the chambers of the heart, of which there are four (two atria and two ventricles). When something “warms the cockles of our heart”, it’s something pleasant that makes our heart beat faster and makes us feel good.

Comment by joolz 06.22.07 @ 5:32 am

This is why I love the internet:


Comment by Meg 06.22.07 @ 8:45 am

I always thought the cockles were the connections between the chambers of the heart. Huh. Learn something new every day.

Marine biology is so interesting. There’s always more to learn, and I’m sure there’s never an entirely dull day. There’s just too much going on. Will she get to study squid? I think they’re super-cool.

I’m still waiting for my copy of your book. *sigh* I don’t know when it’ll get here, but I’ve got laceweight waiting for it.

Comment by Carina 06.22.07 @ 10:45 am

I just had to google it:
At 1:36, the cockle moves and indeed it flips!

My LYS says the book won’t be available in Canada until mid-July. Bah!

Comment by Eva 06.22.07 @ 12:05 pm

We watched the clip together, and she says that one was quite slow compared to the ones she saw. But it does show how it’s done. Cool!

Comment by AlisonH 06.22.07 @ 2:07 pm

I remember an old Irish folk song in which the refrain went,”crying cockles and mussels, alive, alive-o”, so I figured cockles were some kind of sea creature.

Comment by Judy 06.23.07 @ 9:49 am

“It warms the cockles of my heart… maybe even the sub-cockles.” (Or something to that effect, from the Simpsons)

You have a lovely blog. I’ll be looking out for your book!

Comment by korinthe 06.26.07 @ 9:03 am

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