For the past 25 years I lived in the American midwest, and loved it. But it wasn’t until I moved back to the Delmarva peninsula, land of my youth, that I truly felt “at home”. Maybe it’s the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay, sliding in and out, the crabs and fish and salty water, rising and dropping, that brings me home. Or the geese, flying in by the thousands to spend the winter here, just like me. Maybe it’s the farty smell of the marsh, thick with life, that brings me home. I dunno. But I do know that this land sings in perfect pitch with my soul and I feel seated here, solid, like I belong.
I live on the eastern shore of the Bay – as the crow flies, only 30 minutes from the nation’s capitol, but so quiet and rural that I can still see the milky way at night. In a county of only 30,000 people, my small town has 147 inhabitants (says Wikipedia, but I can hardly believe there’s that much of a crowd here).
The Chesapeake Bay is polluted, no question. Some 12 million people live within its watershed, from northern Pennsylvania, through Baltimore, Washington DC, most of Virginia. But I’m a radical optimist, and believe that it will survive and live well again, like so many people – once sick, then healed. Gazillions of tiny actions in support of this ecosystem, from individuals, communities (whether forced, by EPA lawsuits, or chosen) are making a difference. I can look at what’s working, or not – my choice. I choose the beauty of the moving water, fly in my heart with the migrating birds and dig deep into the Bay’s bottom in winter, with the crabs….anticipating the spring’s warmth and the turning globe to pull us out once again. Thinking of this land around me brings tears of love to my eyes. How wonderful, what a gift – to know (finally) where I belong.