September 29th, 2011 by Admin

Have you ever gone oystering? It is a cold, clammy business. I once had the great pleasure and pain to go oystering in Maine. I was given a set of tongs to scoop oysters off the bottom of the sand. These tongs were formidable, resembling two rakes attached to two long poles tht work like scissors to scoop up the oyster. In the freezing air I looked at the hands of the master Oysterer, his hands like giant red claws, more lobster than oyster. I looked at my own hands and saw that they too were fair on the way to becoming like his. I valiantly worked the tongs, even in spite of the Oysterman’s rude sallies, “Yer as slow as molasses running uphill in January.” Fnally, after what seemed an age of trying, I managed to clutch an oyster in my tongs. The Oyster man opened the bivalve creature and there, mirabile dictuu, was a dinky, misshapen… something. “You got yerself a pearl, “ he muttered in his broad Maine accent. “Not too bad for a first timer.”
“But why is it so small” I asked.
“Cause it’s a young one,” he explained. Only after much prodding, the dour gent was persuaded to tell me how the Oyster went about making pearls. It begins with an irritation—a piece of sand, grit, shell, which serves as an irritating parasite to the tender flesh of the oyster. In response, the oyster builds up layers of calcium carbonate around the alien element, gradually growing the pearl. A small pearl takes around 3 to 3 years to grow, a large one, closer to ten. Thus from irritating circumstances a think of beauty can be made. What an analogy for our own lives! For how many years have you been engaged in transforming your irritants, thought invaders, miseries into a masterpiece?

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