Unlike Thoreau, I could not be removed from the ruckus of civilization. No, I could escape for an hour or two at the most, taking advantage of an unexpected return of warm weather to spend some time in a tidal salt marsh. I write this to return to a place where the most regular sounds are the rustle and whisper of the dry reeds and grasses in the late afternoon breeze.

 

And then birds. Circling, the gulls cry. In this slant of light their white sides glow golden before they plunge out of sight to settle in a hidden channel of water flowing through the high grass of the meadows. Unseen, a sparrow chips at the afternoon.  A loud croak announces the presence of a nearby great blue heron, disturbed. Snow geese will winter here and add their… More…

When I was a kid my parents would drive to Atlantic City, and I’d be in the back of our blue Nash on one of the two jump seats, looking out the open window. We knew we were getting close when we could smell the marshes, which we could do even before we could see them. The good stuff was on the other side. Even now when I should know better, it still often seems that the good stuff is always on the other side.

 

On the other side of what? Of whatever seems to be in my way between here and where I want to be — or, more accurately, where I want to go.

Lately I’ve wanted to see what lies at the end of little roads that run toward the water. Some of the roads… More…