HAVE YOU KISSED A CLAM TODAY?
Spectacular summer moments of June! Would you like to hear about one of them?
First—can I just say I love being home? At my house. “Beautiful view, near city lights without city hassles, sunny weather, swimming pool, with all the conveniences of home.” I read that on a vacation brochure and thought, ‘Well, they just described my very own place!”
And I think about that each morning that I wake up WITHOUT an alarm clock sending me off to school. I have issues with alarm clocks. Who doesn’t?? I try to wake up before it rings so I don’t have to hear it. But…who cares? During June, I just wake up whenever!!
So I took my parents out to visit my sister in San Diego. And I adore her. The visit was definitely a spectacular summer moment. Not only because her house is resort-like (seriously) but because I kissed a clam.
The beach was soft, soft and warm, deep with healing sand that envelops the soles of your feet and spans for miles. No people. How did that miracle happen? Just a half dozen birds hopping around making tracks.
And I just get breathless when I see the ocean! It’s like I’m seeing God or something—so powerful and mysterious and inviting and cosmic. And whenever my toes touch the waves I am transformed into the liquid universe of all the shores the Pacific touches. And I am immersed in all the world, past or present; what has been and what will be.
And my dad said, “I feel ready to get knocked down by a few waves.” So we walked slowly out, slowly and deliciously, into the grayish blue, skin tingling and shivery. Waist-deep, we steadied ourselves, anticipating the approach of each rolling, foaming swell., “Awwww, here comes a good one!” we’d holler. And our legs would teeter and quiver at first but not for long. We braced ourselves against the ocean’s force, securing our feet into the indescribable sand beneath the waves.
Then my right foot touched something hard. And round and smooth. I registered a few questions in my head like, ‘Ummm….what do stingrays feel like?’ And ‘There’s not a single stone on this whole beach, how did my foot find one?” So as the wave receded, I bent down so low that my face got wet, and pulled out the most magnificent golden clam you could ever imagine!
“Dad! Dad, look!” It was surprisingly heavy, about a foot across, and I had to hold onto it with both hands. The left side had a little slip of flesh hanging from it, but other than that it was tightly closed. It felt solid and cold, but warm too. And I had the most amazing feeling that The Clam knew it was safe with me.
Dad was impressed. As the waves continued their rhythmic pounding, I held the clam overhead, high as my two hands could reach. My arms stretched into the sky and I just held them there for a bit.
“You gonna see what’s inside it?”
“No Dad,” I smiled, recognizing that the little girl he’d known in me over the decades would have done exactly that. The clam was not a curiosity for me. I knew what was inside it. Something alive, that’s what. I pressed my lips to it. Silly, I know. But the decades of my life have taught me exquisite things, and this moment was something to celebrate. It was the best way I knew how to say thank you.
Then, I reached back down through the salty water, the movement of my long hair flowing back and forth beneath the surface. My fingers scraped aside a little sand and I tucked the clam into its home, burying it the best I could into the cold ocean floor.
And I walked back with my dad toward shore, both of us slightly off balance each time a wave slammed us from behind.
“Have you kissed a clam today?” my dad chuckled, stepping onto dry ground. I helped him wrap a towel around his shoulders.
“Somehow, Dad, I’m gonna make sure I kiss a clam every day.” Dry sand clung to our ankles as we made our way back. “Every single day.”