Saturday, April 2, 2011

Clamming. Again.

The water's warmer, but not warm, the days longer, but not long.

After a longish week, pushing young adults in AP Biology to perform cartwheels that will, ultimately, matter no more than the motes seen in the beam of a late afternoon sun, I questioned what I was doing. The College Board has made some necessary changes, but they don't officially kick in until the year after next, which means I am supposed to teach next year's class a flawed syllabus.

Questioning one's daily work can be liberating, but only if you are willing to accept the answers. There's something to be said for mindless obedience. Obedience has never been one of my strong points.

I went clamming today, again. And again I wrapped my hands around a creature with a beating heart, pulling several out from the muck. Grace, ecstasy, and dinner.
A stiff chilly breeze blew from the northwest, and Brandt geese, a bit annoyed they had to move, watched me from about 20 yards away. The tide crept up as I worked. Under my feet were thousands of periwinkles, too many to avoid. Next time I may grab a bunch to eat.

My rake, once used by a stranger now long dead, is starting to show signs of wear. I do not want to replace it.

I hope I get another season out of it.
And I hope it gets another season out of me.

First honey bee of the year today, too.


Kathryn J said...

My college boyfriend clammed commercially in Great South Bay between Fire Island and Long Island during summer. All day standing up in a boat and pulling a long clamming rake through the beds - then selling what he pulled out at the end of the day. I still don't like them which is good for my family who happily eat my share.

Have I mentioned that I love the beach, the ocean, the shore...? These posts of yours help me to be there when I am far away. 3 months and 12 days until I will be camping near the beach on Cape Cod.

One question though - what is a periwinkle?

doyle said...

Dear Kathryn,

A periwinkle is one of those gazillions of snails that march along the mud flats.

One wouldn't provide much of a meal, but I bet if I get a few hundred and make a periwinkle broth it would taste wonderful!

We used to count the days until our week on the shore. We grew up on the shore, then moved away. We've moved back.

I hope you get to live by the shore someday....

Kathryn J said...

Today, we were finishing up ecology with a discussion of aquatic ecosystems. Periwinkles came up as particularly well adapted to the intertidal zone.

Twice in a week and I hadn't heard their name before your blog post! Coincidence - I think not. I need more salt water in my life!