Mind-boggling beyond my comfort zone!

“I learned so much about oysters that I hadn’t known before,” my neighbor Paul told me.  He was lending me a book by Rowan Jacobsen called The Living Shore — a smallish book that I felt I might be able to handle, at least in bits and pieces.  It was April or May and Nyel was struggling as was I, right along with him.  I needed a distraction now and then — maybe even something to talk with Nyel about. Something not quite so tied up with doctors and hospitals and blood draws and medications.

And there, on page 25, I chanced upon the words “Shoalwater Bay (today known as Willapa Bay)” and we were off and running — soon accompanying Jacobsen and a team of marine scientists on an expedition to the remote coast of British Columbia.  We were looking for the last pristine beds of Ostrea conchaphila, the Olympia oyster — the very oyster that drew my ancestors (and Dobby’s and Tucker’s and scores of others) to this remote area of “the Oregon Country” — soon to become Washington Territory.

We soon were on a quest — a vicarious one, to be sure — that became an exploration of our ancient connections to that “living shore” of bays and estuaries.  We learned about revolutionary archaeological discoveries from British Columbia to South Africa showing how deeply people have bonded with the coast and how it has influenced our development and well-being from our modern origins 164,000 years ago to our colonization of North America.

My take-aways were simple.  I now am not only glad/content/ecstatic that I live on the coast, I also understand the reason I feel a profound connection to the shore.  And I understand why I love salt and how fortunate we all are that the importance of iodized salt was discovered a century or so ago.

And I also understand why Peter J. D’Adamo’s book, Eat Right for Your Type was so NOT right for me.  And why, when our ancestors moved inland and we left our seafood diet behind, “the four-million-year-old freight train of brain expansion ground to a halt” according to Steven Cunnane, Professor, Universite de Sherbrooke.

And besides all that — the book is just plain fun to read.  It moves right along, takes you to places (both good and bad) that you never thought you’d visit and challenges you to think even more deeply about what we are doing (and not doing) to protect this planet we call “home.”  Let me know what you think!

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