I was little, my father and grandfather used to take us to the ocean to
dig clams. Now, clamming is something you do only at low tide, and – if
you were my father – only on weekends and in good weather. So our
clamming expeditions were rare and exciting. I remember navigating the
squishy, wet sand and aiming my shovel at the puckery places where my
father told me to dig. I remember the smell of the ocean, the feel of
the salty breeze on my skin – and the plunking sound the clams made as
we tossed them into our metal pails.
we got home, my grandmother – with my mother’s help – baked clam pie. I
remember the family circled around the dinner table, the pie being
ushered into the room, and the awed hush that enveloped the family when
the first fork-full of clam pie hit our taste buds. My grandmother’s
clam pie was out of this world!
so many years later, the memory remains. Back then, working side by
side with my family members, I was doing a great deal more than
excavating clams. There at the ocean’s edge, while the generations of
my family worked side by side, I was experiencing an act of creation in
which everyone’s contribution counted – even mine, the littlest member
of the group. I was beginning to form the building blocks of
relationship and community. I was learning how to open my heart.
years ago, my grandmother died. And, when we were cleaning out her
house, everybody said, “I want the clock,” and “I want the dresser,”
and “I want the sewing machine.” And I said, “I want the recipes.” I
searched four boxes packed to overflowing for my grandmother’s clam pie
recipe until eventually I found it. And this is what it said, more or
less: ‘Double crust, enough for large pie dish. Clams. Sauce for clams.
Salt and pepper. Bake in moderate oven until done.’
I don’t suppose there is a recipe for our small planet. Not a specific
one, anyway. It all depends on the people, the life forms, the
circumstances, and the tools we have available to us. It’s a kind of
improvisational cookery. We have no control over most of the elements.
We have to work with what we have. That’s the challenge and that’s the
beauty of it.
shaped roughly into a ball, enough to create a whole planet. Dot with
families, communities (including UU churches), nations, all humanity,
all living things, enough to make a world. Infuse with creativity,
curiosity, and all yearnings of the heart and soul.