We have laughed about being lost on the lagoon every day since. It became a joke that grew wings and flew from every lip and oyster on the farm.
The farm sits stilted above the water. A wooden planked bridge connects it to the two motus belonging to the farm. I walk across it. It sways beneath my weight and licks of wind. I see sharks and schools of parrot fish bubbling beneath me in the emerald and indigo waters.
The motus look like the moon with their earth made of white coral. Budding up and crawling forth from the coral there are; cabins, crabs, a catamaran, vegetable gardens, beehives, flowers, and Patrick’s workshop.
Patrick is spinning magnets into power. He says, “We live in a sea of energy. It’s a standing wave.” He gives me a book by Walter Russell who said, “In the wave lies the secret of creation.”
I read Russell’s theories. I love them. A collision of spirituality spun around an origin of scientific thought and expressed through art. We see eye to eye on God and interconnectivity and communing through meditation.
I’m thrusted back to all the visions and experiences that lead me to these same conclusions. I think about who I’d be without them. I think about where I have yet to integrate. I think about the colossal power of thoughts and how they are the conductors of this holographic universe.
Patrick explains to me that inside a vortex matter is no longer solid, it is just energy. I want to know if it becomes energy of equal measure? He tells me to imagine a tornado, and how something with no known strength, like a garden hose, can thread straight through a tree.
I cross the bridge back to the farm. Head flowing. Absorbed. The name of the farm is Kamoka Pearl Farm. Nobody alive knows what the name means.
In it’s hey day there were twenty people working in unison there. I envision a commune built around salt. A nautical hippie haven. Everybody dressed for immediately undressing.
The pearl market tumbled a while back. Now this farm is run by four. There is Emma, who prepares the shared meals and tends to the garden. Davey, who comes from a neighboring island, and does everything from free diving to slicing grafting tissue to feeding the chickens. Davey’s girlfriend, who is a French clothing designer and volunteering on the farm. And Patrick’s son, Josh.
When I first saw Josh working with the oysters, he looked like a scientist in the thick of invention. His hands moving methodically with thin sharp tools and there were oysters and yellow balls and liquid.
Me, “What are doing?”
Him, “Making pearls.” Then Josh looks me dead in the eyes and says, “A pearl is magical. It’s a shiny orb that comes out of a slippery mollusk.”
It all sounds so deliciously alien to me. The jewel that slips out of the sea.
A wild pearl is rare, it is created when something foreign intrudes the mollusk, that’s why Josh is doing what he does, he is in essence creating that intrusion.
I witness this collaboration between human and nature with a deep curiosity.
I watch as Josh cracks the oysters carefully open. I watch as he inserts a nucleus (yellow ball), and wraps graft tissue around it. He is no longer an inventor, he is more like a dentist, implanting this recipe of magic into the oyster!
What if a dentist could put something inside our mouths, we keep them closed for a year, then we spit out some gem? How much would they be worth? More than all our words.
The tissue that Josh wraps around the ball comes from another oyster that is sacrificed for the creation of the pearl. It is the same tissue that makes the iridescent interior of the oyster shell. It will grow around the yellow ball and form the pearl.
I watch as the oysters are strung together on a line. I watch as they are then sunk back into the sea. I watch as they ripple this way and that in the water.
The oyster shells will be cleaned by schools of fish. A year from now, they will produce a pearl and those pearls will radiate with the entire spectrum of color, for the rainbow is inside every pearl.
In Polynesian mythology, the god, Lono, flew down from a rainbow with a black pearl as a gift for a princess. The pearl was imbued with all the colors of that rainbow.
I hold an empty oyster shell in my hand. I find it just as fascinating and as beautiful, if not more beautiful, than the pearl. Without this vessel there is no pearl.
I wonder who first discovered the pearl. I imagine them slurping down oyster meat in rapid succession. I imagine them finding a pearl twenty oysters later. I imagine their mouth dropping, oyster juice dripping, eyes like bugs. I imagine them trying to bite the pearl with their teeth. I imagine them throwing it behind them, because it was hard and could not be eaten. Or was it immediately valued? Maybe they kept it and wore it around their neck next to a whale tooth? Or did they put it on display among an altar for the divine? Or did they wrap it in a leaf and send it out as a gift to the Gods of the sea?
All I know for certain, is that now, cultures around the world agree that a pearl is a pretty thing.
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