Seaweed flows and poppers drape over the barnacled boulders, as a mid-day sun
Burns off the wisps of salty fog and vague memories of far gone bogs
A strange freshness in the air fills your senses, as a rhythmic ebb tide
Exposes a vast, rock strewn mud flat, perhaps growing edible treats
About seventy-five yards out from shore, yet well in from the sloshing
Water’s edge, a well-tanned figure, shirtless, is bent over at the waist.
These flats are in his blood and his rubber waders sink slightly into the gray goo
He holds a wide, thin-tined rake and spreads four wooden hods around his digs
“Good money during the summer”, he casually mentions, then continues
Picking two to three-inch specimens from their nest of dark muck
“Same price per pound as lobsters this year”, he adds, then tosses
Another handful of six into one of his almost loaded, fifty-pound carriers
One might feel fatigued, just to imagine tugging on clay all day, yet he gently
Harmonizes such earthly efforts with a technique to push the tines in seven inches
Deep, or so, and peels back a block-sized chunk to harvest. With a lilting cadence,
It takes him less than three hours to rake and pick two hundred pounds.
Hints of Gaelic origin inform his caring love of flats and bogs, and he says, “I’ve done this for
Over sixty years. At 72, I know every cove on Deer Isle, in every season, how to reseed a bed
And how to sustain the yield for generations to come. Occasionally, the Dept of Marine
Resources asks for my ideas. Hi, my name is Herbie Carter, Jr. and I know clamming.”
Can each one of us truly know about, and be satisfied with, our connections with Creation!
Peter W. Tarlton Sweet Speed Lane, Deer Isle, Maine uly 4, 2019