Land of the Singing Clams

I am re posting this Blog article because right now, I wish I was on a holiday at the ocean!!
(This article was first posted in November 2009)

Recently I travelled to Cortes Island which is located in the Strait of Georgia across from Campbell River, Vancouver Island and Quadra Island, BC. When I got off the ferry I had some extra time before checking into my retreat, so I chose to go explore Manson’s Landing.

I noticed a young woman wandering around an almost empty cove perhaps picking up Oysters and placing them in her bucket. This reassured me that I too could go out there with my camera and find some treasures of my own!  So I wandered out onto the wet sand tiptoeing around and over various shells and jellyfish.
The sunlight made the water and dry sand sparkle. The air and ocean was still and quiet except the only sound I could hear was tiny high pitch squeals that seem to surround me. This was new to my ears.

Whether I wandered into the clear water or on the wet sand and squatted to curiously peer at things, this squeaky chorus remained the same.

There was an abundance of empty clam shells, which were contrasted by live Oysters. I wondered if the sound came from the million tiny holes in the wet sands.
At times I had to step cautiously to avoid the glimmering rubbery jellyfish patiently waiting for the waters to return.  I wished to walk out to a small rocky island that was surrounded by a channel of water.

However, I looked back to dry shore and sensed the tide was coming back in and that I needed to retreat or I’d be wading in waters creeping up to my knees or thighs.

It was not the best time to get stranded with the camera.  I have little experience with the timing of tides.  I noticed the water current creep up and it floated empty clam shell boats, air bubbles and curled pieces of bark etc. All the tiny discoveries were exciting photograph.

I wondered if this could be called, the land of the singing clams?

Beside myself, there was one young family relaxing on the beach. It struck me that the children did not appear bored as they sat together in the sandy grass.  This was such a tranquil and clean island beach.  It was serenity! 

It made me wish that all children of the world could experience moments such as this out in nature. Especially for children that face economic and urban barriers to playing in nature based unstructured natural environments free from the electronic stimulation that tends to be the norm these days.

During my brief time on Cortes Island, I did learn more about some of the interesting community projects and lifestyle choices.  Someone mentioned knowing a 3 year old who knows over 25 plants and their important medicinal uses.  I thought  this was interesting as many preschoolers that I have known over the past had memorized the names of Dinosaurs! 

As well, someone mentioned that children from the inner city of Seattle come to camp on the island and have been led barefoot on a walk through the forest up to Easter Bluff lookout. Wow! What a great experience that would be to walk on forest moss and rocky steps in bare feet! 

There is even a small independent parent participating school located on the Linnaea Farm Land Trust. One of its primary goals is to create appreciation, respect and responsibility for the natural world. One of their assets is a ‘Farm Life’ class as the school is located on a working organic farm!


I witnessed that young children can sit in one spot entertaining themselves for an extended period of time while the adults relax in solitude comfortably right beside them. 

Perhaps if we could choose to turn off our cell phones and IPods more often, we even might hear more natural and magical sounds like Singing Clams!

How might childhood be different if young children were influenced to attach and identify themselves with natural elements from earth, air, water and fire and learn how to create and combine them in innovative ways that enhanced their pretend play?

How might childhood be different for young children if they were not influenced to attach and identify themselves with commercials, products and brands?

Instead, perhaps they could learn that happiness does not primarily come from purchases that promise to entertain them or make them cool or attractive.

Perhaps we could also teach them not to believe that they need these items just because media tries to persuade them with these consumer beliefs.

What might be different is their connection to nature. Young children may suffer less from over-stimulation, anxiety, and boredom.

(documentaryon commercial exploitation of children) 

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