During NAIDOC Week I observed oysters under a microscope for the first time. Like little time capsules with so much possibility, the oyster can be male or female but never both at the same time. Once the spawning has occurred, eggs and sperm are released into the water to be fertilized. Adult females can release as many as 5 to 8 million eggs at one time. Once the eggs are fertilized in the water, the developing larvae float around until they are ready to attach to a resting spot. At first the oysters move freely and have an eye and a foot. At this point, the oyster searches for a surface and can attach to any hard substrate, including rocks, driftwood and piers. In time, the young oysters (spat) will develop their hard shells for protection and grow in size. In time they will shape and form and filter.
The scale of the oyster spawning plays on my mind.
I think often of the moon.
I eat their milky flesh in the sun.
The shells protect me.
They provide safe harbour for my imaginative self.
I wait for the oysters to grow.
I wait for the reef to form
My shells of understanding emerge.
I am melancholy.
The loss weighs on my mind.
Loss of spawnings.
Loss of wild.
Loss of blue.
The ghostly shapes haunt me and visit my sleep.
Fluttering and seeking, searching with their feet, their eyes.
They seek me out.
Prod me to move.
Prod me to move on and flutter and find my own drift wood, my rock.
I heard them, their clicks and they called me.
Called me from the shore.
Lapped at my consciousness and pricked and clicked my ears, my mind.
For it was under the microscope they came alive.
For it is sitting within the crosshatch
that the oysters lie
There lies my learning.