Meet a Natural Wonder at the Library

by Bill Peak

No matter where we are or what we are doing, it is always there. Like a memory we struggle to recall, it often lies tantalizingly just out of reach, just over the horizon. Still it touches us, affects us—our moods, our diet, our weather, our lives. We are all of us—all of us—haunted by the Bay.

And in a very real sense, of course, we live at its mercy. The peninsula we dwell upon is a creature of the Bay, subject to its whims and fancies. When a Nor'Easter comes roaring down out of New England, don't we all turn a weather eye to the west, knowing the reverse side of that storm could well send portions of the Bay up into our streets and lives?

And speaking of lives, there are still so many that depend upon the Bay for theirs. And I'm not talking about just watermen here. Think of all the builders, all the merchants, all the restaurateurs, all the innkeepers, all the real estate agents, whose livelihoods, to one degree or another, depend upon the appeal and health of the Chesapeake Bay.

The Bay enriches us both physically and metaphysically: it is our boon, our refuge, our larder, our home. And dwelling upon it, it is fitting we should ... well ... dwell upon it, that is think about it, talk about it, ponder its mysteries, consider its fate. This November the Talbot County Free Library, in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, will host a series of community conversations about this most precious of assets, our beloved Chesapeake Bay.

We will begin on Monday night, November 4, with Bay 101, a primer on the Bay's ecology led by Bess Trout, Eastern Shore Field Specialist for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. On Thursday night, November 14, Literature of the Bay will feature one of our region's—and our nation's—foremost writers, Tom Horton, who will talk about his ground-breaking work, Bay Country. On Monday night, November 18, Herb Reed, Senior Agent and Master Gardener Coordinator for the University of Maryland Extension Service, Calvert County, will present a program on septic systems, their care and maintenance and their effect upon the Bay. And on Monday night, November 25, Story-Tellers of the Bay will feature five of the Chesapeake's finest raconteurs: Fred Pomeroy, William Roe, Scott Todd, and Michael Vlahovich (watermen all), and legendary Smith Island wife, song-writer, crab-picker, and corrections officer, Janice Marshall (who we are hoping will keep all those watermen in line).

We invite you to join us, to take a little time out of your week to renew your relationship with the body of water that probably brought you here, or keeps you here, or both—the body of water that so affects us even as we so affect it, the immense estuary we all know and love and, in many ways, don't know at all ... this gift of Providence, this Chesapeake Bay.