We paddled past cormorants perched on towers, past egrets looking sideways at shrimp about to die, past a great blue heron that had no time for us.
We got to our clam bed, pulled out a dozen clams, and headed back home as the sun ached its way back south.
Yes, I know the date. I was on Liberty Island waiting for folks who never arrived, and watched the smoldering city as the sun ignored our passion play, and settled down only as a September sun can.
I got out my clam rake, to stalk critters every bit as evolved as me, and now sit with a belly full of quahogs.
I'm teaching, again.
If I could get even a tiny piece of what I did today--harvesting the energy of sunshine caught between the gorgeous shells of a critter that does not know I exist, so that I may breathe another day--into the souls of my lambs, I'd have done my job.
We've created a culture where you can go from cradle to grave without once ever acknowledging the grace that makes it possible.
I do not talk of grace in the classroom. I talk of fusion in the sun, of energy flowing through us, or matter recycling around us. I talk of what we know, what we can know, and of what we cannot.
I talk of descent with modification, of DNA, of life.
I told the kids on Friday I would bring back a shell or two of the critters I planned to hunt over the weekend. I want them to wonder, as I do, why the inside of a quahog shell holds a purple streak almost too intense too bear.
The answer, whatever it might be, hardly matters.
It's the wondering that matters.