How can anyone live away from the water? I ask myself this. When I fly across America, when I rode the Trans-Siberian Railroad across Mother Russia, when I lived in the middle of Germany for twelve years--all these people living without the sea--or most without even a pond--where does the sustenance for their souls come from if not water?
So, here is the Eastern Shore of Virginia, that great undiscovered peninsula that is a essentially a huge farm--Iowa, say--surrounded by water. On one side, the western side, there is the great Chesapeake Bay, on the eastern side there is the inevitable Atlantic. In the middle is an utterly flat, rich land where thousands and thousands and thousands of acres of crops are tilled by Mexican workers (legal? who knows). They plant, grow, and harvest, by my observations so far, corn, tomatoes, soy beans, wheat, and cucumbers. There are smaller operations that produce green beans, melons, squash, and zucchini. And then you see the huge chicken corporations, Tyson and Purdue, their chicken farms eerily resembling small concentration camps, their processing plants attracting immense flocks of seagulls and reeking of raw meat and blood when the wind blows right.
But, again, there is the water. It saves it all from being just another prairie. In my other blogs on this site you've seen photos of the Bay side of the Eastern Shore. Here are some of the sea side. Here, just six miles from the Chesapeake, is a great ocean and the barrier islands that protect the farmlands. Hundred of miles of empty, windswept beach await the beachcomber and within those barrier islands are millions of acres of marshlands, flat, shallow water filled with crabs and oysters, and hundreds of species of fish.
Yesterday I took a break from writing and accepted an invitation to go out on the water. Here are a few pics.