Sunday, November 25, 2012

Clamming in November, again

 I raked up a small mess of clams yesterday.
under a chilly, windy late November sky.

The shadows are long, now, even at noon. We know why, of course, and pretend otherwise, living under electric lights, listening to electric voices, staring at electric screens.

The wind is blowing over 20 knots from the northwest, in November, and the tidal flats call like Sirens. No one out there but me and my Auntie Beth, a gull, a few scoters, and the clams.

I teach in an urban district, where the few guns around are snubby, designed to be used at close range on humans. I spend most of my free moments in Cape May, where guns are more prevalent, longer, usually used on game other than H. sapiens.

I hunt with a rake, not quite bloodless, and unlikely to raise my testosterone cred, but it does connect me with this life business more than the folks who never kill their prey.

I'd rather be a wolf than a vulture, Whole Foods be damned. We have a lot to learn from the hunters.

Even vegetarians kill. Plants are every bit as alive as you and me. We place high regard on sentience, and no one has yet shown that plants care about anything, but every living animal must take lives in order to stay living. Few plants kill animals, and I've little appetite for the few that do.

Tonight we munched on quahogs and Brussels sprouts. The clams are dead, the Brussels still alive, so I suppose a vegetarian could claim moral superiority.

Even so, the clams tasted pretty good.

I put three back, the largest I caught. Each was a couple of decades old, each had done nothing to earn the wrath of my rake.

They are sitting within a few inches of each other, their collective age older than mine, and I hope they spawn.

Their fellow quahogs are in my belly now.

And so it goes.....

Photo taken along Richadson Sound by us.


Lee said...

Not sure vegetarians can claim moral superiority. They're sometimes eating their "prey" alive, after all.

No one has ever made me think about clams in quite the same way as you have, Michael. Thank you for that!

Tomorrow starts deer rifle season for the next two weeks. Pardon me in advance for the bad mood that I'll be in. Not so much because people are killing deer (I'm as fond of venison as the next guy), but because they won't respect my wish to give the deer at least a few acres to find refuge if they're smart enough. (Posted signs be damned.)

Mike Kaechele said...

I thought of you in church today. The message was based on the concept of the table and the pastor made the exact point that you make here today and often: everything that lives is based on the death of other organisms. Of course he tied it into the parallels of Jesus. He also talked alot about the how as moderns we have distanced ourselves so far from nature.

Lately I have been contemplating the fact that food tastes good and eating is enjoyable. We need to eat to stay alive, but the fact that it is such a pleasant experience and in fact required in every culture in pretty much every gathering and celebration doesn't seem like an accident to me.

Lastly if you are not familiar with this poem(also shared by the pastor) I think you might like it

Unknown said...

After having to kill a chicken, I don't think about chicken the same way. I was too scared (dare I say chicken) the first time and Christy had to do it herself. The next time, I helped. It didn't turn me into a vegetarian, but it certainly reminded me that my life depends on another living thing's death.

doyle said...

Dear Lee,

The clam comment is about as good a compliment as it gets--thanks!

Back when my Dad was alive and living in the hills, hunting season was always problematic. Knuckleheads from the city, dressed like Rambo, shooting anything that rustled.

Good time to stay out of the woods.

Dear Mike,

Sadly, the most nature many of our kids get today is the cycle of seasons in church, and even that is diminishing. We still our indebted to our pastoral world--we are of the earth, and must consume of it to stay alive.

And thanks for sharing the poem--

Dear John,