Saturday, May 8, 2010

our spring trip, post 7: clamming

This was my favorite day in a long time. I now love clamming! Never had done it before. Rejuvenating. With the simplest of tools, a bucket and a shovel and possibly a rake, you walk out at low tide and dig into the sand to see if it's the right consistency for clams. Various clam types prefer different sand/mud mixtures, if you can believe that. Picky little critters, but then, what other choices do they get to make in life? This is the height of their self-actualization. Pretty soon, if it's the right environment, you'll start finding clams, their shells already shut tight or maybe just shutting, a stream of water squirting out. It's great. Easter egg hunting on an adult, hunter/gatherer, survivor level.
What you're seeing in the background of this next shot are the legs of a man in his 70's who'd just placed second at the senior Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. Pole vault, I believe. Rad, ain't it?
Z didn't feel well, so she didn't take to clamming like I'd hoped. She stayed close to me and didn't give a fig about the wriggly crabs and worms we unearthed. She wanted to nurse. So there we were, me at a squat, she latched onto my breast, standing in tiny shoes on the ocean bed floor, where hours before there had been enough water to cover us over and would soon be again. That's the kind of timeless, grounding, spiritual experience I like to see around here.

After a few hours of digging up clams, we took them home and made linguine. One of the boys played guitar while my aunt and uncle cooked. I baked bread. We all feasted. It was deeply satisfying to eat those clams in the warm light of a coastal town kitchen, with windblown hair and faces, and to talk about the best way to get the sand out of the clams beforehand, and how to prepare them. It reminded me again of how far removed from our food sources we are most of the time and of how much simple contentment we miss out on because of it. And of how easy it is to get back in touch!


tamie said...

If I was an octopus, I'd put up all 8 of my thumbs at the text and photos in this post.

Shana said...

love the his age they are better than anyone that I know and definitely my own!

melissa said...

what IS the best way to get the sand out?

lori lls said...

Tamie - - well, thanks! Very great comment. Octopii. Clams. The ocean. Awesome.

Shana - - yeah, those legs were spectacular. Imagine having 8! If you were an octopus, you might. Do they actually have thumbs? I kind of doubt it. But I envision the ends of an octopus's leg like the end of an elephant's nose, and I believe an elephant has a thumb-like protrusion. Anyway.

Melissa - - I hear tell that you put the clams in cold water and sprinkle in corn starch, and leave them for some hours. The corn starch irritates them enough that they work at ejecting from themselves any foreign objects, including grains of sand. Evidently it makes them a little tougher, because they have been exercising instead of laying still just before you eat them.