With clamming, as with so many other things in life, it’s location, location, location.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Mame and I went clamming off Scudder Lane in Barnstable Village. Clearly there were some clams around because others were finding them, but for us it was zilch, nada, nothing. Very ungratifying.

Yesterday, however, at a beach in Osterville, it was a different story. I came home with a basketful of lovely cherrystones and made Portugese Clams and Rice for dinner.

I have to admit there’s an atavistic excitement to capturing my own food. “Oh, baby, come to mama,” I’d croon as I fished the clams out of my rake. “Cause I’m-a-gonna eat you.” Somehow I’d morphed from a person who rescues spiders trapped in the bathroom sink, to the big bad wolf waiting to gobble up Little Red Riding Hood. Is this any way for a nice Buddhist girl to behave?

Maybe. You see, I’ve never completely bought the Buddhist precept of non-killing, which most interpret to mean never eating meat. There are many reasons that someone might chose vegetarian diet: because it may be healthier, or because we’re repulsed by the cruel and unnatural way animals are raised in modern industrial farming, or to lessen our impact on the planet. I’m sort of slouching towards vegetarianism myself.

But to take the position that killing another creature for food is morally wrong seems a bit out-of-touch. One thing that’s obvious about the universe we live in is that all life exists by subsuming other life forms. This cycle of destruction and regeneration isn’t some perverted system that greedy humans came up with. It’s the very ground of our existence. To disapprove of it seems – well – presumptuous. It’s like saying that we should be above and separate from the natural world. There are religions that believe this, but it doesn’t seem that Buddhism should be one of them.

The Buddha said that resistance to Things As They Are is one of the root causes of suffering. And is not our omnivorous place on the food chain one of those things?

Of course that means that we have to be equally open to getting eaten by a bigger predator…a tiger or a big bad wolf. Oooh! Now that’s a little harder to swallow. More practice is necessary.