Clamming in R I
It was a beautiful end of summer day. Kathy has the Canadian Canoe with a 9.9 engine on the back. We can row or paddle, or for long runs, Kathy uses the engine. The shallow brackish ponds curve around a landscape of the Atlantic on one side and the shoreline of southern Rhode Island on the other side. The image above depicts our family group raking for clams
The 1st of October brings my mind into the new season. Though we spent the afternoon in the water, it was really not warm enough for old bones to enjoy a swim. Though each of us were so adapted to New England, I am sure we might have had we known the day would turn out as warm as it did. My face browned with the passing of the day.
The southern migration of the popular tree swallow was in full swing and they were, we were told, on their way to Essex Cn where they converge to finish their way to the southern destination. In New England, we understand snow-birds differently than the popular version which is to fly, drive and even train to some parts of Florida. These birds were swirling and feeding off the pond all around us. A flock of cormorants also converging were mingling with sea-gulls as we canoe around the ponds and marshes of Ninigret. Native American influence is fading but still visible when you look.
We brought in enough shellfish to have appetizers with dinner, a simple Sunday evening supper as was the custom in Canadian families.
Autumn and aging are at my front door. At first, I had to adapt to the idea, then I realized the adaptations are transitions that require a new kind of deliberate intent. Clamming on a bright, sunny, autumn day with folks you love and trust is a great source of spiritual healing. I am talking about the kind of healing that comes from inhaling the rays of sun, merged with the aroma of the tides and the beauty of the colors the light provides.
Some days, with a bit of luck and a dose of determination, gratitude is in the air.
When October goes the snow appears. Or so it seems. The transition of a simple moment, one minute it is Indian Summer and the next it is New England dropping leaves and acorns and the skies turning a darker shade of grey and the wind and cold are coming over the lake with a vengeance.
Nonetheless, October remains one of my very favorite months. I love how it comes in radiant in color and brilliant in shades of of yellow and reds and russets. I love the smell of the fallen pine needles and I am reminded that life is a cycle and a very short one at that. If we are given one chance, how lucky we are to have had consciousness, and if we are given a second chance how special we must feel for not having lost it–yet.
October is about aging it is about having all the energy of June just older and wiser and a bit more crunchy.
October is a lesson a preparation for the eventual final winter that will one day arrive in the night and be the thief it has always been portrayed to be. October is alive, but it echoes with a call from the wilderness that is unmistakable.
In the short amount of time that I am here, I am glad when October reminds me to appreciate the vestiges of summer’s last hours and summer’s last flowers.
When I Am Among the Trees
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
~ Mary Oliver ~