|Raking for quahogs in February|
I'm taking my nieces clamming tomorrow. It's fun catching quahogs, and even more fun eating them. It's their tough luck to be so tasty.
The more you get to know clams, or anything alive for that matter, the more you appreciate just how complex and wonderful they are.
Yes, I eat them. I'm a mammal, and have no chloroplasts. I need to eat.
There's been a video going around that shows a clam "enjoying salt." I'm not sure just how much a quahog knows, but I suspect they're brighter than a governor or two opposed to science They're certainly more evolved.
This is an animal trying to get itself back in the muck. The salt is clearly an irritant.
I do not know how much a clam knows, or feels, or cares, but I do know how much humans are capable of knowing, or feeling, or caring.
And we've fallen a long way from what is possible.
You can dissect a clam in biology class, and learn nothing about it, except that it has parts.
You can eat a clam on the boardwalk, and learn nothing about it, except that it's delicious (at least if served fresh).
What is it about clams that are worth knowing? The question is not as silly as it looks at first blush.
The more you know about clams, the more interesting they become. That's true about pretty much anything.
School kills this.
Well, Mr. Science Teacher, if you're so freaking interested in clams, how can you eat them?
And that's the Great Mystery right there. We can either eat what we eat wholly conscious of the act, which includes killing, because of what we are, or we can pretend food is magic.
We kill in our kitchen. We eat in our kitchen. Animals have bled in our sink, the last few pulses of arterial blood mixing with water as it swirled like wisps of pink clouds.
I chill the clams before slaughter, and occasionally pray for them. Doesn't help the clams much, true, but reminds me of my place.
I dream someday of slaughtering an animal in class, a big animal an animal we can share as a meal. Maybe a white-tailed deer. I want my lambs to see the eyes of the dying beast.
There's no hiding here. Even our vegetables require the deaths of many, many animals.
The lesson goes beyond the Common Core, beyond the Next Generation Science Standards. A few students may, understandably, giggle--it's what we do when we're unsure.
And then we would prepare the beast for a feast.
I said a dream....
***The blood washed down my sink goes to the same place we send our urine, our shit, our spit, our mucous. We hide it. We're silent about it. We pretend it does not exist.
The mudflat smells rank at low tide--uncountable critters die with each low tide, to feed those that come after them, that come after us. We are not special, we will die here, too.
I'm teaching a generation of kids the intricacies of DNA polymerase, which they have about as much chance of understanding as they do grasping their own mortality.
But they know this much--we're not telling them the obvious. What they don't know is that many of us have learned to forget the obvious. We've been trained well.
I didn't go into teaching to train people. Pass the venison....
Can you imagine the outcry if I slaughtered a fawn in class?