The tide washes up onto the beach, then recedes. As I walk along the tide line I see the shore come alive with hundreds of sparkles as tiny clams emerge from the wet sand. Another wave washes across the mollusks and they disappear, only to reappear moments later.
I can't remember when I've noticed so many coquinas, these small colorful bivalves that flourish at the edge of the beach. As I walk a mile along the ocean I must pass many thousands of them, most in clusters, others spread out in a wide pattern.
These clams, coquinas we call them, go by the scientific name Donax Variabilis. Some are yellow, some pink, others blue. Some have concentric designs, others show a sunburst pattern. They are tiny, but tasty. It's been years since I've had the patience to make coquina chowder, but it is just as delicious as traditional clam chowder.
In some parts of the country folks admonish us to stop and smell the roses. If you are on Ocracoke I suggest you stop and admire the coquinas. They are quite a marvel.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a list of a few traditional Ocracoke Island recipes. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052112.htm.