digging for clams

With my toes thick into the silky ridges of low tide, staring out at the sparkly blue sea dotted with spinnakers and tankers and kayaks, it occurred to me that they were here in the same location, just as they were close to thirty years ago.  The same spot, the same toes.  I think about the number of fingers and toes in my family strangely often.  One hundred.  It seems unbelievable really.  One hundred wiggling, working digits between us. I trimmed the littlest set yesterday for the first time, somehow filled with dirt (how a newborn gets dirty nails is beyond me, but its true- he did) and I counted them all again in my mind.

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Digging up clams for the first time yesterday, my biggest little boy searched my memory to find out about the first time I ever tunneled down for the razored edge of those sand dwellers.  After a few successful chases, we walked on and I recalled and he took note.  It was one of those moments you dream about when you imagine yourself all grown with children.  Something so special, you know even as a little child, you should teach this to somebody, some day.

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I always search my boys faces for signs of  their ancestry; A grandmothers chin, a fathers lips, my very own eyes…  and sometimes I pause and wonder about these fingers and toes of theirs too. Not so much in what they look like, but what they will do, and what they will see.  For now, while they are little, and here on the land that was my childhood, they will do what I do.  Or what I have done.  But already in the rolling hills of their Vermont life I have seen them scour the forest in a way I never would have, and sink those chubby hands into mud I couldn’t dare, and pluck up insects I can only pretend to not fear, and squat beside farm animals I only read about as a child.

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I was always under the impression that watching a child grow couldn’t possibly be as interesting as being the grower yourself, but it turns out it is.  Witnessing this fascination is something to behold.  I never could have imagined it to be so.  

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One thought on “digging for clams

  1. That’s beautiful. I’m sure that tonight, when I’m clipping the nails of our son, my thoughts will be with the life in front of him, and with this post. Thank you for this moment to pause…

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