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Pressed: 52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Nineteen: What to Learn from Oysters

1 Jul

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Nineteen: What to Learn from Oysters.

981265_10151727318141383_451742269_o

What to Learn from Oysters

Oyster Boat Trip: In June, 2013, I took a boat trip from Comox to Union Bay to an oyster farm known as Holly Wood (named after the people running the farm). They raise fairly expensive oysters to sell to reputable restaurants in the area, most notably, the Kingfisher restaurant known as the Oceanside. The boat ride towards Denman Island was spectacular as we made our way by Goose Spit, past Royston and over towards Fanny Bay. Everyone knows that the Fanny Bay oysters are the best in the world, and yet, I have not paid much attention to oysters for their own sake aside from the fact that they have beautiful shells, and, in my mind, unless heavily dosed with hot sauce or horse radish, they taste pretty slimy.

I think that most people know that they are supposed to be an aphrodisiac. As well, it is common knowledge that sometimes, if you are lucky, you can find a pearl inside some of them. Although I recently learned that the “cultured pearls” are the ones everyone wants to buy as they are “worth something”. Someone artificially inseminates them with little marbles, and the oysters weave their magic around them to create what appears to be natural pearls with various degrees of “perfection”.

Oyster Resilience: What I did not know is how interesting their little lives are from the seeds that make them through to their harvesting. I was also intrigued that this husband and wife oyster farm team had made it their life work to be on the water in what seemed some pretty grimy conditions to nurture these crazy little sea beings through to adulthood.

They are interesting little creatures that make the little annoyances around them part of their lives. For example, barnacles don’t faze them. Oysters, in their natural habitat, absorb these ocean nuisances; grow over them, around them or underneath them. As well, oysters are resilient and turn little granules of sand that make their way into their shells into natural pearls. Oysters help maintain the ocean ecology, and it is a good thing when we promote them into any ocean system. Sometimes, those beautiful ochre and orange starfish have been known to take over some of the areas where oysters tend to live, and mussels sometimes get in their way too. However, for the most part, oysters tend to do very well through most circumstances provided that we keep our water clean.

If there are toxins in the area, oysters will become poisonous to eat, until the sea area becomes clean again, and then it takes a few weeks for them to clear out so that we can eat them again. They are the creatures that tell us a bit about how our ocean waters are doing and it makes me worry when the coal mining industry might be allowed to continue up above Royston and Union Bay, and potentially interrupt the environment (http://www.coalwatch.ca/5089-name-petition-asks-bc-government-stop-comox-valley-coalmine. The islanders have been petitioning against it for some time. Coal stories rarely have happy endings, and especially in this valley, despite all of the good intentions of the big corporations.

Why am I writing about oysters? I think that it occurred to me on our boat ride back from the oyster farm as the head chef from Oceanside served us clams and oysters (raw and cooked on the BBQ, and I still wasn’t turned on by their taste), that there is something very peaceful about the life of an oyster. Oysters have this way of turning what might be perceived as nuisances into beautiful gems.

Often when we are bothered by a problem, our immediate reaction is to extricate it, or do what we can to ignore it. Instead, what if we embraced the problem, and turned it into something better? It strikes me as a noble concept, and one that I am not sure how I can employ into my own life. What does this mean, exactly?

Philosophers have been talking about living with pain for a long time. Buddhists say that the first truth is suffering. What if the suffering was actually a means of identifying an issue and then transforming it into something beautiful instead of simply a mortal acceptance or denial of it? What if we just believed that out of the suffering, we would intentionally and actively turn the problem into a beautiful pearl? It is our nature to do so as we all come from the sea, just as it is the instinct of the oyster. We just need to remember how to do so.

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Nineteen: What to Learn from Oysters

1 Jul

981265_10151727318141383_451742269_o

What to Learn from Oysters

Oyster Boat Trip: In June, 2013, I took a boat trip from Comox to Union Bay to an oyster farm known as Holly Wood (named after the people running the farm). They raise fairly expensive oysters to sell to reputable restaurants in the area, most notably, the Kingfisher restaurant known as the Oceanside. The boat ride towards Denman Island was spectacular as we made our way by Goose Spit, past Royston and over towards Fanny Bay. Everyone knows that the Fanny Bay oysters are the best in the world, and yet, I have not paid much attention to oysters for their own sake aside from the fact that they have beautiful shells, and, in my mind, unless heavily dosed with hot sauce or horse radish, they taste pretty slimy.

I think that most people know that they are supposed to be an aphrodisiac. As well, it is common knowledge that sometimes, if you are lucky, you can find a pearl inside some of them. Although I recently learned that the “cultured pearls” are the ones everyone wants to buy as they are “worth something”. Someone artificially inseminates them with little marbles, and the oysters weave their magic around them to create what appears to be natural pearls with various degrees of “perfection”.

Oyster Resilience: What I did not know is how interesting their little lives are from the seeds that make them through to their harvesting. I was also intrigued that this husband and wife oyster farm team had made it their life work to be on the water in what seemed some pretty grimy conditions to nurture these crazy little sea beings through to adulthood.

They are interesting little creatures that make the little annoyances around them part of their lives. For example, barnacles don’t faze them. Oysters, in their natural habitat, absorb these ocean nuisances; grow over them, around them or underneath them. As well, oysters are resilient and turn little granules of sand that make their way into their shells into natural pearls. Oysters help maintain the ocean ecology, and it is a good thing when we promote them into any ocean system. Sometimes, those beautiful ochre and orange starfish have been known to take over some of the areas where oysters tend to live, and mussels sometimes get in their way too. However, for the most part, oysters tend to do very well through most circumstances provided that we keep our water clean.

If there are toxins in the area, oysters will become poisonous to eat, until the sea area becomes clean again, and then it takes a few weeks for them to clear out so that we can eat them again. They are the creatures that tell us a bit about how our ocean waters are doing and it makes me worry when the coal mining industry might be allowed to continue up above Royston and Union Bay, and potentially interrupt the environment (http://www.coalwatch.ca/5089-name-petition-asks-bc-government-stop-comox-valley-coalmine. The islanders have been petitioning against it for some time. Coal stories rarely have happy endings, and especially in this valley, despite all of the good intentions of the big corporations.

Why am I writing about oysters? I think that it occurred to me on our boat ride back from the oyster farm as the head chef from Oceanside served us clams and oysters (raw and cooked on the BBQ, and I still wasn’t turned on by their taste), that there is something very peaceful about the life of an oyster. Oysters have this way of turning what might be perceived as nuisances into beautiful gems.

Often when we are bothered by a problem, our immediate reaction is to extricate it, or do what we can to ignore it. Instead, what if we embraced the problem, and turned it into something better? It strikes me as a noble concept, and one that I am not sure how I can employ into my own life. What does this mean, exactly?

Philosophers have been talking about living with pain for a long time. Buddhists say that the first truth is suffering. What if the suffering was actually a means of identifying an issue and then transforming it into something beautiful instead of simply a mortal acceptance or denial of it? What if we just believed that out of the suffering, we would intentionally and actively turn the problem into a beautiful pearl? It is our nature to do so as we all come from the sea, just as it is the instinct of the oyster. We just need to remember how to do so.