Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Steak Your Clam









On Saturday there was a minus tide. A minus tide, if you didn't already know, is when the ocean becomes, shall we say....shy, recalcitrant, shrinking. I sometimes wonder how the indigenous dealt with such sudden extremes. Oh yeah, I remember. They freaked out and removed the still-beating heart of a virgin. Anyway, can you imagine? You're just going about your daily routine and the beach reveals itself another quarter mile? And this phenomenon becomes more exaggerated the farther (yes, thanks to Fr. Ignatius back in the Benedictine days: farther---farther by distance, further by degree if you ever get confused again) north you go. Along the rocky shore of Montara and Moss Beach (California), it was rare to see a minus tide approaching -2.0 ft. In Oregon, we occasionally get one at -3.0 ft, but it is normal to see -2.7 and -2.8 where I live. Way up there at Clam Gulch, Alaska, they get -5.0 ft tides! Yikers!!!

I will never forget seeing my first Oregon minus tide. It must have been a biggie. It was in Lincoln City. I was a freshman in college at Mt. Angel Seminary and we got a chance to use the Abbey's beach house. I couldn't believe my eyes. The first wave looked like it was a mile from where the uppermost breakers usually gave in to gravity and earned their name. And since, in Oregon, all ocean beaches are considered state highway, a minus tide renders the beach the widest road in the land.

Now a little about Siliqua patula (no, not Clark, Silly-qua![gawpo crack self up]) When introduced to razor clamming in 1981, I was told, "These are the only clams that can dig as fast as you can." That said, they are however no match for the length of the blade of the specially designed razor clam shovel. One scoop---butchabettuhbequick---and you gottem. Hesitation invites a lost clam or the insult of a wave smacking your ass. I have felt both simultaneously. Wakes you up. When you're soaking wet in 52 degree saltwater, you forget about that lost clam quicker than you can say, "I'm soaking wet in 52 degree saltwater and I have forgotten about that lost clam."



So on Sunday there was a minus tide. My friend Jack and I hit the beach at about 3:30 (1530 hours to the militants). The limit is 15 clams per person per day and all clams must be retained no matter how small. Jack wanted to get his limit. I like to go one shy. Good for Karma. But I ended up with 11 and Jack, with 13. It was awesome. Once at home, cleaned and fried in olive oil and a light dusting of flour (the clams, not me!), I felt blessed and alive. I had surely saved the life of a virgin.

So what's the life lesson here? Introspection indicates that I am myself in the midst of a minus tide in my own life. I am revealed beyond belief. It is very scary becoming so shown and so vulnerable ("vulna", it turns out, is Latin for "wound." It's the "able" part of the word that permits it to happen). But things that would otherwise have gone unseen, unharvested even, would not have been accessible were it not for this boundary expanding experience. Ex, it seems, would be the operative. It means "out" as in "out of" or "outward." Expanding. Experience. Extenuating. Extremity. Excruciating (lit: out from the cross).

In the last analysis, it all hurts so good. It is life. The still beating heart, when you stop to think about it, pauses half its life too; it too is enduring its own tides. Love takes your breath away. Then just as quickly, puts it back. So there's only one thing you can do: breathe.

Those are my clams there in that bucket there in my sink there. So, there. Further attachments are borrowed from the net, but no farther than from your monitor to your eyeball.

I am inviting any and all to pun the crap out of the clam. So have some fun, leave your pun. Can you...........dig.........it?

22 Comments:

At Wednesday, December 6, 2006 at 3:48:00 PM PST , Blogger Gawpo said...

Candace, I'm just going to say this for you: Good thing George Lucas doesn't go razor clamming. Can you imagine the architecture in his next film if he did!

 
At Wednesday, December 6, 2006 at 5:04:00 PM PST , Blogger Katie said...

ohh... gawpo.. I live mainly in Texas or Montana ..

Clams? I'm going to have to pass... Sounds like you had a blast though .

 
At Wednesday, December 6, 2006 at 8:31:00 PM PST , Blogger Candace said...

Haha! You beat me to it. ^_^

Isn't it kinda coincidental that I post clitorii and you post clams?


Do you build a lot of mussels digging like that? Is it fair to say that it was a close shave for the ones that got away?

I'll clam up now.

 
At Wednesday, December 6, 2006 at 8:32:00 PM PST , Blogger Candace said...

OK, one more thing. I can't get over how phallic the ones in the bucket look, LOL!

 
At Thursday, December 7, 2006 at 8:32:00 AM PST , Blogger Gawpo said...

Candace: Okay, Candace. You can stop looking now. Candace? Candace? CANDACE!!!!

 
At Thursday, December 7, 2006 at 8:50:00 AM PST , Blogger Gawpo said...

Katie: What? No pun? You're getting off way too easy.

 
At Thursday, December 7, 2006 at 10:55:00 AM PST , Blogger Candace said...

Can I touch your clam?

Do you vant to touch my monkey?

Oy! Stir them up in wine! (say it out loud)

 
At Thursday, December 7, 2006 at 6:25:00 PM PST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll just sit here quietly and giggle behind my hand.

My word verification:

y red p

 
At Friday, December 8, 2006 at 7:34:00 AM PST , Blogger QuillDancer said...

This post is just a little too clammy for me.

 
At Sunday, December 10, 2006 at 9:58:00 AM PST , Blogger Gawpo said...

Quilldnacer: Then you can just go back to your........necking.

Cindra: You haven't even posted, but I think I'll just go ahead and tell you to come out of your Schell and say something!

Candace: Not only does clamming build mussels, in doing so I got chapped lips.

Nibby: y red p? GREAT ONE.

 
At Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 1:22:00 PM PST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This thread is pure abalone

(ok just shoot me)

 
At Sunday, December 24, 2006 at 12:36:00 AM PST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

ah, J - always did love razer clams

 
At Sunday, December 24, 2006 at 11:33:00 AM PST , Blogger Gawpo said...

Joe: I don't need a thou-sand reasons to stop this foolishness. Good one, Joe.

Jaimes: Hey there! And Merry Christmas to you and the chillens.

 
At Sunday, December 24, 2006 at 11:49:00 AM PST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas to you, too!!!

(ps: and, yes, I do know it's "o" :) )

 
At Wednesday, December 27, 2006 at 7:24:00 PM PST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Perhaps though, the small surges are what defeats me, and perhaps all of us. We expect one long continuous life of bliss; we want the holiday feelings to permeate our lives daily, yet in reality life is only puncutated by the rushes of bliss, the rest of life being an elongated resting phase.
Your heart has a resting phase. In the process of one heart beat, the current flows across down and around your heart, but just for fraction of time the heart rests before the process starts again. Maybe life is like that. The resting phase is the essential part of living, but for some reason we expect too much from the in-between times."

 
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