A former Lutheran pastor sharing thoughts on faith and life. Please join the conversation! I love your comments!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bean Clams Beyond Limitations

Donax digging into the sand.
My family and I went on a vacation to Florida last week.  I have read too much about the environmental costs of travel to feel entirely guilt free about such a trip.  (Yes, I can even feel guilty about taking a vacation.  I am that good at guilt.)  Yet every time I take such a trip I feel my world getting a little bigger, my perspective a little broader, and my appreciation of the complexities and beauty of creation growing.

It seems like it is often the little things which amaze and enthrall me.  Last year in Colorado, it was a mushroom and some chipmunks.  This year: clams.

I spent several years married to a Wildlife Biologist. So, after bemoaning the fact sea critters is the one category of creatures for which I do not have a field guide, I hopped on the internet to learn more about these little marvels.  Turns out the ones I found so intriguing are plentiful in many beaches of the world.  Donax is there scientific name but they also go by such delightful monikers as "bean clam" and "coquina."  What intrigued me about these little critters was their ability to rapidly dig back into the sand whenever the water washed them to the surface (or a sandcastle construction shovel uncovered them, I am sooo not above building sandcastles).  They manage to disappear beneath the sand in moments despite their lack of any apparent limbs.  Turns out they do have a "foot" which propels them through the sand.  Still to move in this manner so quickly is quite an impressive feat (haha, couldn't resist.)

Their shells were liberally sprinkled about the beach, as you can see in the top picture.  The abundance of such evidence of their presence leads me to wonder if my delight over their movement would be akin to a visitor to Kansas being delighted and mystified by the hopping of a grasshopper.  But then, I find the hopping of a grasshopper delightful too, if they are not eating our crops.

There is so much in this world over which to marvel.  So many ways our assumptions about what can and cannot be done are challenged.  I would never have thought one footed digging could be an affective means of locomotion but those little donax proved me wrong.

The next time someone tries to limit what is possible saying things like "the church can't change", "girls can't do that" "you'll never get enough people interested" "it doesn't matter what a liberal says or votes in Kansas", I am going to think to myself "Yeah, and I bet you think no one could bury themselves in sand with one foot either."  The bean clam can do it.  And when their work is done they sometimes even leave a beautiful butterfly shaped memorial to themselves too.

So there.

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