The history of the oysters has no discernible beginning and as yet thankfully no end. You could start at almost any point on the globe and travel east or west. Or even at any moment in history and go back or forward. You might almost start this book on any page you please and read all the way round the world, if you fancy.
We have a myriad of patches of history that stitch together to make a huge quilt to wrap around our own histories. They unfold one on top of each other, like a whole bed of oysters themselves, one reef with many aspects, but not as it were, written down, more assembled.
Events we think we know in Europe, that happened centuries, even millenia ago, played out again in America and Australia and are still in graspable, reachable, tangible, vivid, validating memory. The history plays out again like some travelling stage show that meanders through time for another reprise for another generation.
Gather round. Imagine we are in some small room. With friends or family or both. There is a fire. There is time. This is not a short story. We need to let it take its course. It is a big river that starts out in the cold Jurassic foothills and gathers its own momentum until it is big enough to climb aboard the tide and rush to the