Do you know how a pearl comes to be?" "Oysters make them, from a bit of sand." "Aiyah. From a bit of sand." He rolled the pearl between his fingers. "All pearls begin as something unpleasant that the oysters cannot expel from themselves, even though they may want to. So they embrace these things that will not leave them, shaping them and smoothing away the sharp edges, until over time, they make of these unwanted things great treasures.
Gaia giveth even as she taketh away. The warming of the global climate over the past century had melted permafrost and glaciers, shifted rainfall patterns, altered animal migratory routes, disrupted agriculture, drowned cities, and similarly necessitated a thousand thousand adjustments, recalibrations and hasty retreats. But humanity's unintentional experiment with the biosphere had also brought some benefits. Now we could grow oysters in New England. Six hundred years ago, oysters flourished as far north as the Hudson. Native Americans had accumulated vast middens of shells on the shores of what would become Manhattan. Then, prior to the industrial age, there was a small climate shift, and oysters vanished from those waters. Now, however, the tasty bivalves were back, their range extending almost to Maine. The commercial beds of the Cape Cod Archipelago produced shellfish as good as any from the heyday of Chesapeake Bay. Several large wikis maintained, regulated and harvested these beds, constituting a large share of the local economy. But as anyone might have predicted, wherever a natural resource existed, sprawling and hard of defense, poachers would be found.
Paul Di Filippo
I had no intention of becoming a comedian. I just wanted to make people happy. I tried everything-I shucked oysters, I painted houses, I sold vacuum cleaners. But there was always a voice saying, You should be doing something different. And it was usually my boss and I was being fired.
I think oysters are more beautiful than any religion,' he resumed presently. 'They not only forgive our unkindness to them; they justify it, they incite us to go on being perfectly horrid to them. Once they arrive at the supper-table they seem to enter thoroughly into the spirit of the thing. There's nothing in Christianity or Buddhism that quite matches the sympathetic unselfishness of an oyster.
Hector Hugh Munro
I think oysters are more beautiful than any religion, ' he resumed presently. 'They not only forgive our unkindness to them; they justify it, they incite us to go on being perfectly horrid to them. Once they arrive at the supper-table they seem to enter thoroughly into the spirit of the thing. There's nothing in Christianity or Buddhism that quite matches the sympathetic unselfishness of an oyster.
I signed contracts when I didn't know what that meant. I thought I'd get residuals off of the shows I've been on: History Channel, Discovery, Dateline, Johnny Carson, etc. It's the only regret I have in life. If I got residuals, I wouldn't be shucking oysters now, though I do love my job.
Oysters open completely when the moon is full; and when the crab sees one it throws a piece of stone or seaweed into it and the oyster cannot close again so that it serves the crab for meat. Such is the fate of him who opens his mouth too much and thereby puts himself at the mercy of the listener.
Leonardo da Vinci
Ten percent of the big fish still remain. There are still some blue whales. There are still some krill in Antarctica. There are a few oysters in Chesapeake Bay. Half the coral reefs are still in pretty good shape, a jeweled belt around the middle of the planet. There's still time, but not a lot, to turn things around.
I am a teller of stories...a weaver of dreams. I can dance, sing, and in the right weather stand on my head. I know seven words of Latin. I have a little magic and a trick or two. I know the proper way to meet a dragon, can fight dirty but not fair, and once swallowed thirty oysters in a minute. I am not domestic. I am a luxury, and in that sense, necessary.
Cats are like oysters, in that no one is neutral about them; everyone is, explicitly or implicitly, friendly or hostile to them. And they are like children in their power of discovering, by a rapid and sure instinct, who likes them and who does not. It is difficult to win their affection; and it is easy to forfeit what is hard to win. But when given, their love, although less demonstrative, is more delicate and beautiful than that of a dog.
Henry Parry Liddon
Do not enjoy yourself. Enjoy dances and theaters and joy-rides and champagne and oysters; enjoy jazz and cocktails and night-clubs if you can enjoy nothing better; enjoy bigamy and burglary and any crime in the calendar, in preference to the other alternative; but never learn to enjoy yourself.
Gilbert K. Chesterton
Stop trying to find something in food that will make you feel better. I used to have eating disorders; I'd binge and purge all the time: fried oysters, po' boys, muffulettas, beignets, coffee and doughnuts. I tried to medicate myself with food when people made fun of me or hit me with a bat in school. I'd always turn to food.
He claimed to be a Marxist, the only one of his claims I believed. He had that Marxist passion for oysters and good Sancerre, and that Marxist paralysis when the waiter brought the check. Already it's obvious how much the Communists got wrong, overbetting on human high-mindedness, lowballing human desire.
The oyster was an animal worthy of New Orleans, as mysterious and private and beautiful as the city itself. If one could accept that oysters build their houses out of their lives, one could imagine the same of New Orleans, whose houses were similarly and resolutely shuttered against an outside world that could never be trusted to show proper sensitivity toward the oozing delicacies within.
I am a neat hand at cookery, and I'll tell you what I knocked up for my Christmas-eve dinner in the Library Cart. I knocked up a beefsteak-pudding for one, with two kidneys, a dozen oysters, and a couple of mushrooms thrown in. It's a pudding to put a man in good humour with everything, except the two bottom buttons of his waistcoat.
When I was younger, I ate nothing but fried food. Everything was fried, from oysters to chicken to potatoes to vegetables. When you die in New Orleans, they deep fry you before they put you in the coffin. When we baptize children in New Orleans, we baptize them with a bordelaise sauce; we don't use water.
Said one oyster to a neighboring oyster, "I have a very great pain within me. It is heavy and round and I am in distress." And the other oyster replied with haughty complacence, "Praise be to the heavens and to the sea, I have no pain within me. I am well and whole both within and without." At that moment a crab was passing by and heard the two oysters, and he said to the one who was well and whole both within and without, "Yes, you are well and whole; but the pain that your neighbor bears is a pearl of exceeding beauty."
Throughout my reading life, I've enjoyed many memorable meals-if only fictionally. The oysters at dinner near the beginning of Anna Karenina, the dinner Nana throws for her overflowing guests in Zola's Nana, the walk through Les Halles for breakfast in Baldwin's Giovanni's Room, and nearly every meal in Monique Truong's The Book of Salt.
I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes. Petals are bone marrow; pearls come from oysters. The dragon lives in the sky, ocean, marshes, and mountains; and the mountains are also its cranium. Its voice thunders and jingles like copper pans. It breathes fire and water; and sometimes the dragon is one, sometimes many.
Maxine Hong Kingston
Methinks we have hugely mistaken this matter of Life and Death. Methinks that what they call my shadow here on earth is my true substance. Methinks that in looking at things spiritual, we are too much like oysters observing the sun through the water, and thinking that thick water the thinnest of air. Me thinks my body is but the lees of my better being. In fact take my body who will, take it I say, it is not me.
Asher taps his fingers on his lips and I catch Amy licking her own as she eyes his mouth. "What exactly are Rocky Mountain Oysters?" he asks her. I restrain a laugh as Amy's face twists in confusion. "Well... I think they're kind of meat. I'm not sure what kind, but I like them." She presses the end of the pen against her chin. I shake my head at Asher. "You don't want those. Trust me.
i have had my ups and downs but wotthehell wotthehell yesterday sceptres and crowns fried oysters and velvet gowns and today i herd with bums but wotthehell wotthehell i wake the world from sleep as i caper and sing and leap when i sing my wild free tune wotthehell wotthehell under the blear eyed moon i am pelted with cast off shoon but wotthehell wotthehell
Heaped on the floor were turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat, sucking pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, bartrels of oysters, re-hot chestnuts, cherry-cheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious pears, immense twelfth-cakes, and seething bowls of punch that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam.
In the light of what Proust wrote with so mild a stimulus, it is the world's loss that he did not have a heartier appetite. On a dozen Gardiner's Island oysters, a bowl of clam chowder, a peck of steamers, some bay scallops, three sauteed soft-shelled crabs, a few ears of fresh picked corn, a thin swordfish steak of generous area, a pair of lobsters, and a Long Island Duck, he might have written a masterpiece.
A. J. Liebling
As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.
It is always worth asking questions, especially in regards to the ingenuity of local marketers around the world. From uncovering the truth cloaked by sly names of regional specialties such as 'Rocky Mountain oysters, ' to the inadvertent discovery that the innocuous little cubes of 'fruit de mer' or 'fruit of the sea, ' a salt-cured flavoring in popular West African Atlantic Ocean coastal cuisine are actually nothing of the sort, but from the flesh of giant land snails. Even the chef who'd used these cubes for years without a second thought was appalled, especially when the un-cured version of 'fruit de mer' had been busy making the most of a bad situation by eating an escape path through the rest of the fresh ingredients before sliming across the counter and up the wall.
The Everglades was the only place on earth where alligators (broad snout, fresh water, darker skin) and crocodiles (pointy snout, salt water, toothy grin) lived side by side. It was the only home of the Everglades mink, Okeechobee gourd, and Big Cypress fox squirrel. It had carnivorous plants, amphibious birds, oysters that grew on trees, cacti that grew in water, lizards that changed colors, and fish that changed genders. It had 1, 100 species of trees and plants, 350 birds, and 52 varieties of porcelain-smooth, candy-striped tree snails. It had bottlenose dolphins, marsh rabbits, ghost orchids, moray eels, bald eagles, and countless other species that didn't seem to belong on the same continent, much less in the same ecosystem.
I told her about the best and the worst. The slow and sleepy places where weekdays rolled past like weekends and Mondays didn't matter. Battered shacks perched on cliffs overlooking the endless, rumpled sea. Afternoons spent waiting on the docks, swinging my legs off a pier until boats rolled in with crates full of oysters and crayfish still gasping. Pulling fishhooks out of my feet because I never wore shoes, playing with other kids whose names I never knew. Those were the unforgettable summers. There were outback towns where you couldn't see the roads for red dust, grids of streets with wandering dogs and children who ran wild and swam naked in creeks. I remembered climbing ancient trees that had a heartbeat if you pressed your ear to them. Boomboom-boomboom. Dreamy nights sleeping by the campfire and waking up covered in fine ash, as if I'd slept through a nuclear holocaust. We were wanderers, always with our faces to the sun.
Later, long after my grandfather was dead, I would regret that I could never be the kind of man that he was. Though I adored him as a child and found myself attracted to the safe protectorate of his soft, uncritical maleness, I never wholly appreciated him. I did not know how to cherish sanctity, and I had no way of honoring, of giving small voice to the praise of such natural innocence, such a generous simplicity. Now I know that a part of me would like to have traveled the world as he traveled it, a jester of burning faith, a fool and a forest prince brimming with the love of God. I would like to walk his southern world, thanking God for oysters and porpoises, praising God for birdsongs and sheet lightning, and seeing God reflected in pools of creekwater and the eyes of stray cats. I would like to have talked to yard dogs and tanagers as if they were my friends and fellow travelers along the sun-tortured highways, intoxicated with a love of God, swollen with charity like a rainbow, in the thoughtless mingling of its hues, connecting two distant fields in its glorious arc. I would like to have seen the world with eyes incapable of anything but wonder, and a tongue fluent only in praise.
Because this painting has never been restored there is a heightened poignance to it somehow; it doesn't have the feeling of unassailable permanence that paintings in museums do. There is a small crack in the lower left, and a little of the priming between the wooden panel and the oil emulsions of paint has been bared. A bit of abrasion shows, at the rim of a bowl of berries, evidence of time's power even over this-which, paradoxically, only seems to increase its poetry, its deep resonance. If you could see the notes of a cello, when the bow draws slowly and deeply across its strings, and those resonant reverberations which of all instruments' are nearest to the sound of the human voice emerge-no, the wrong verb, they seem to come into being all at once, to surround us, suddenly, with presence-if that were made visible, that would be the poetry of Osias Beert. But the still life resides in absolute silence. Portraits often seem pregnant with speech, or as if their subjects have just finished saying something, or will soon speak the thoughts that inform their faces, the thoughts we're invited to read. Landscapes are full of presences, visible or unseen; soon nymphs or a stag or a band of hikers will make themselves heard. But no word will ever be spoken here, among the flowers and snails, the solid and dependable apples, this heap of rumpled books, this pewter plate on which a few opened oysters lie, giving up their silver. These are resolutely still, immutable, poised for a forward movement that will never occur. The brink upon which still life rests is the brink of time, the edge of something about to happen. Everything that we know crosses this lip, over and over, like water over the edge of a fall, as what might happen does, as any of the endless variations of what might come true does so, and things fall into being, tumble through the progression of existing in time. Painting creates silence. You could examine the objects themselves, the actors in a Dutch still life-this knobbed beaker, this pewter salver, this knife-and, lovely as all antique utilitarian objects are, they are not, would not be, poised on the edge these same things inhabit when they are represented. These things exist-if indeed they are still around at all-in time. It is the act of painting them that makes them perennially poised, an emergent truth about to be articulated, a word waiting to be spoken. Single word that has been forming all these years in the light on the knife's pearl handle, in the drops of moisture on nearly translucent grapes: At the end of time, will that word be said?