This carving humng by my doorway for years. The quahaug is a hard shelled clam, from which wampum was made, and chowder. Seeing this woman and child digging for quahaugs at low tide is a far cry from the present day. Now it takes 30 feet of bullrake and an iron back to bring up a bushel of bigs, or littlenecks, or cherrystones. I filled this carving with pleasant images from childhood. I was not only finding quahaugs, but splashing around the edge of this huge ocean with 50 foot waves in the middle. It was a privilege for a little mite like me.

    Just about every Rhode Islander has been quahaugging at one time or another. It is a cosmic experience because you are watching the tide either go out or come in. And this is the direct effect of the moon. Gnerations of people have raked for the littlenecks, or 'chowders.' We even have the word 'chowerhead' for someone whose hatches are not quite battened down. Part of tradition are the old wives' tales which just aren't true. Some say that quahaugs migrate -- overnight. A quahaug has one 'foot' with which to dig into the mud or sand, but migrate? No. To keep tradtion alive I have carved quahaugs with skinny little legs and feet. It's not accurate, but it keeps with tradition. Better to draw quahaugs with feet than to admit that some mariners on Greenwich Bay can't put their boat over the same bed twice.

    I put the obligatory fisherman in the carving, pluas a sailboat, a Beetle Cat, a wide centerboard sloop with mast far forward, gaff-rigged, very forgiving. I learned to sail in one. That's me sailing away. When the sailboat gets to the other shore we get out and leave the boat. But that is another carving. Carved in the mud is a horseshoe crab, a symbol of Divine Creation. This creature which looks like an item of manufacture, has survived many mass extinctions of giant creatures.

    There can be no ocean or carving of one, without a seagull. They are great flyers and pickers of food off the mud flats at low tide. At other times they hover over schools of bait fish, being chased to the surface by game fish. Fisherman can use the seagulls to learn where the fish are. But quahauggers have no such hints. They must think deeply.


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