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Water Is Our Character

It’s also, as you’ll see at the Boat Shows, opportunity
       Earth, air, fire and water are what’s it’s all about, according to ancient cosmology. Those elements ruled all the way down the great chain of being, even to humans, who might thus have a fiery or a sanguine temperament. 
      Places fall into that elemental structure, too. Much of the Midwest, except where the great rivers run, is earth. So are the mountains. Phoenix is surely fire, and very windy places, air.
      Chesapeake Country? We’re water.
      Water is opportunity as well as character. It’s the force that’s drawn humans to Chesapeake Bay, from First People to ourselves today. It’s how Captain John Smith found this place, seeing and mapping so much of it on an amazing voyage fueled mostly by human drive and muscle.
       As well as a way to travel, the great Chesapeake waterway system gave sustenance and often wealth to people working on and above the water. Complemented by human need and ingenuity, our waters inspired the invention of a legacy of boats and tools.
       Among those boats is the skipjack, which, as you’ll read this week in Bill Sells’ story Softening Reality’s Harsh Lines, has just inspired a mural on the Calvert County Courthouse. 
       Nowadays, pleasure boating claims a big share of the livelihood, lifestyle and wealth our water brings us. In Shelby Conrad’s story, Keeping the Economy Afloat, you’ll read that recreational boating and fishing is the most profitable contributor to the national outdoor economy, accounting for $36.9 billion in 2016.
       In Maryland, recreational boating and marine‐related industry contributed $2.41 billion to our economy in 2011, and I bet that figure has climbed in seven years. 
       Over the next two weeks, the U.S. Boat Shows will show you a lot of ways your money could become part of those billions. Manufacturers use boats shows — and ours are the biggest on-water boat shows going — to show off their latest models as well as their best sellers. In sail, power and paddle boats by the hundreds, you’ll see the marvels invention and technology have to offer.
       As I’ve learned the hard way (see Lust in the story Found at the Boatshow), with so much so accessibly on offer to embellish your boating lifestyle, need and want get in a terrible tangle.
       For as well as what we need — a good life vest you’ll really wear should be high on the list — you find at these boat shows a full array of marine inventions nobody but their inventor would have ever imagined. But once you’ve seen it, want escorts need to tempt you.
      Unless you’re a master of self-control, it’s a good idea to go to the boat shows with a restrainer. Otherwise, there’s no telling what contribution you might make to Maryland’s swelling maritime economy. 
      I hope you will tell. Email me what you found at the boat show: [email protected]