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Back to the Water

We’re all drawn into the Chesapeake’s force field

Brian Zagalsky with his school project on the rockfish moratorium.

The Chesapeake runs through us. If we knew rivers better, how they twist and turn and emerge from many places, I could call the inundated bed of the Susquehanna what it is, our river of life. Easier to understand are trees, which stand in one place and let you see them in their enormity, from their great trunks to their spreading limbs branching irrepressibly into twigs and leaves. (Their roots, for the most part, you have to imagine.)
    The grandest of all trees, mythologically speaking, is Yggdrasil, the Norse tree of life. In centrality and vitality, that tree compares to our Chesapeake.
    For Chesapeake Bay is much more than a nice expanse of water. A medium rich as earth in spawning and sheltering life, it’s a living force whose branches, twigs and leaves run all among us. Get close enough, and you’re in its force field.
    That premise — come close and it has you — brings school children from throughout the watershed to the Bay and its tributary limbs to feel the water and plant oysters, fish fingerlings and grasses they’ve grown in their classrooms. You’ll read about a couple such groups in this week’s Creature Feature by Bay Weekly staffer Audrey Broomfield, who is one of the (adult) students. You’ll also read about a teen whose enchantment with the Chesapeake has earned him recognition as an expert on an epoch that’s history to him (though perhaps still vivid in your memory, as in mine), the rockfish moratorium of 1985 to 1990. Staff writer Kathy Knotts tells his story.
    The kids feel the pull, and so do we.
    You’re reading this paper, which makes it very likely that force has drawn you to Chesapeake Country, as it has so many of us. Since 1950 — the old days — our watershed population has grown from 8.4 million people to 18.1 million. Many of us have entwined our lives with these waters, enjoying them, making a living from them, protecting them. For the many among us who come to the water in pleasure — anglers, cruisers, paddlers, sailors — this is the season of return. That excitement we’re feeling is proof of the power Chesapeake Bay has over us.
    Back to the water is our theme this issue. So we’re giving you information to help you know the Bay better in mind and in person — plus telling you stories of the different ways people relate to the pull of the Chesapeake.
    One is Norman Gross, who makes model boats to record the people of his life and the boats that took them to the water. New to Chesapeake Country and Bay Weekly, writer Jackie Graves got to know where she’s landed better by telling his story.
    Upcoming is one of those weekends when there’s so much to do in Chesapeake Country that you’ll wish you could divide yourself into enough pieces to do it all. If we both manage that division, I’ll see you at the 39th annual Celtic Festival and Highland Games … Craft Beer Festival … Huntingtown Volunteer Fire Department parade … Muddy Creek Artist Guild’s spring show and sale … Pigs and Pearls … South River on the Half Shell … SPCA Walk for the Animals … Speaking of Love — and more than one plant sale. Find directions to all that and more in 8 Days a Week.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com