As we do every year, we spent Christmas with my family on the Eastern Shore (beautiful in any weather). The day after Christmas it was mild, but very foggy most of the morning, and it was well suited for some walking and some reflection.
Adjacent to my parent's property is small, marshy creek that has one of my favorite vistas. As I walked up to it, I disturbed a Great Blue Heron who squawked and fussed as it flew from one side to the other. If you enlarge the picture you can just make it out in the middle.
The pond next to the house was once used to irrigate fields, now it is a nice place for turtles and waterfowl. There is an earthen dam with a dirt road on top that separates the salt marsh pictured above from the freshwater pond, and both of these pictures were taken from the same spot, all I had to do was swivel around.
The land my parent's house sits on was once part of the Lang family farm. I remember the house that used to sit smack dab in the middle of the field. It was not that old by Eastern Shore standards, probably it was built in the late 1800's when the area was experiencing agricultural boom times as a result of the new railroad. It was a large, wood framed house, with a few ornate Victorian details. By the time I knew of it, it was in a terminal state of disrepair and made a great place to play. I did manage to get a fireplace mantle from it before the house was razed. The only remaining indication of the farm, is the name of the road and the family graveyard. Although there are plenty of traditional cemeteries on the Shore, it was not at all uncommon for families to bury their own in the same fields that gave them their sustenance and livelihood.
Judging by the dates on the graves, the house I remember was probably not the first one on the property. You will have to imagine what this lonely spot looks like in the summer amid a lush field of soybeans or completely encircled by 7' tall corn.
At the other end of field sits a tree line and another salt water marsh, and here the vegetation gets wilder. The trees are mostly Loblolly Pines, Hackberry Trees and Eastern Red Cedars.
Further east from the treeline, next to Metomkin Bay the land is lower and risky to farm, however it is a great place for a marsh to grow. Here numerous species of grass thrive, each within their own niche of the ecosystem. There were also a few remainders of last summer's blooms.
This path through the marsh takes my father and uncle to their oyster grounds.
The pavilion sits in a grove of ancient Eastern Red Cedars and it has been witness to many summer gatherings, church outings, Labor Day picnics, and even a few engagement parties. It faces due east across the bay towards Metomkin Island and the Atlantic, and accept for the birds and the distant breakers, it will be quiet here until Easter Sunrise Service. Next door to the pavilion site, one of the former adjacent property owners created a self declared wildlife refuge, primarily for birds. It had a wildflower meadow, a fresh water pond and nesting boxes scattered around the property. A later owner came, filled in the pond, mowed and seeded the meadow with turf grass and subdivided the farm. They put up a gate, paved a road, built very nice docks and offered the small lots (without houses) for several hundred thousand dollars. Their timing and or their pricing were not good. Years later all of the lots remain empty, but their docks are sometimes visited by a person who really likes the way this place looks without big McMansions on tiny waterfront parcels.