Written 8 year ago on a blog long abandoned.
I got a hankering for clams, and paddled over to Richardson Sound to one of my favorite place in the universe.
Slate gray sky above, slate gray water below. The water's still warm enough to wade in, and the tide was creeping in over the clam bed.
I was mostly alone, at least by human standards. A couple of turtles watched me paddle, and a couple of loons called to others, warning of my approach.
I am (finally) getting competent with the clam rake. My hands can now "feel" the texture of the mud as I comb the bottom. I still dredge up a stone now and then, but the ones that fool me now at least are shaped like clams.
I scratched up enough clams for dinner, and a few more for my Auntie Beth, then paddled home. It was a gorgeous morning.
Clamming lets you see things you forget you care about. Clams are in no hurry to escape; the only urgency is the rising tide.
You can watch the tides rise and fall. Literally, if you take the time. I take the time.
I clam at the edge of water. The edge rises perceptibly as I work.
The edge's personality changes over the couple of hours I rake. It creeps up stealthily, smoothly, for a few minutes, then takes tiny staccato steps for a few more. It pauses. It retreats for an instant, then surges a bit more.
The edge does not define the tide. Its jerky journey up towards the debris left by the last high tide reminds me what we cannot know.
Tonight we are eating red hake for dinner. My son and I caught a few yesterday on the ferry jetty. Slaughtering fish is not easy for us, nor should it be.
We can try to minimize slaughter by calling fish "lesser" animals.
We can pretend no pain is involved.
I did not raise my son to pretend.
Before we took the fish home, we made sure we had enough for dinner. If not, we release them.
Life is messy. We take great care in school where I teach to put things in boxes and categories, to feed into the great mythology we have created, a mythology that now precludes children from knowing where their food originates. We keep biology clean.
We're part of a huge morass of energetic goo that replicates and plays and consumes and replicates and plays and consumes some more. Life involves fluids and combustion and not just a little bit of mystery.