Volume 12, Issue 35 ~ August 26-September 1, 2004
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Letters to the Editor

We welcome your opinions and letters — with name and address. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, MD 20751 • E-mail them to us at [email protected].

Farming Was Here First; Help Preserve It

Dear Bay Weekly:
I was reared on a farm during the 1930s and ’40s in the Southern Anne Arundel community of Jewell. My dad farmed the land for many years until he became physically unable to do so. Through the years, we’ve had a wonderful life here: Neighbors gave respect to each other and complained only about the weather.

A few thoughts to newcomers with citified misconceptions of rural existence: The machinery noise, clouds of dust, odor of manure, etc., that is offensive to you is a thankful harbinger to country folks as it means the long winter is past and farmers are gratefully able to till and enrich the soil, preparing for mainenance of the season’s crops. For generations, our families have peacefully made a living off the land and waterways.

Mentionable, too, is that persons building next to watermen, who for a lifetime have stored crabbing and oystering equipment on their yards and piers, are known to gripe about this being unsightly. Reminds me of those building homes beside an established airport and then complaining about the noise of aircraft.

We have to tolerate the results of your being here: increased taxes due to mega-high-priced homes, revamping of overcrowded roadways and schools, added pressure on police and fire\rescue teams. So, please, also be tolerant and respectful of our way of life and customs.

I ask lifelong and longtime citizens and necomers who do feel the heartbeat of rural life to give support to County Councilman Ed Reilly’s upcoming council bill this September that seeks legislation to limit citizen complaints to the courts — concerning farm odors, farm machinery noise and anything else they deem obnoxious — that inhibits a family’s resonable right to make an honest living from its land.

This is our heritage. Many lives are dependent on the lands and waterways, and no one should be allowed to destroy a decent existence.

—Joyce Kirchner, West River

Proving the Power of Poetry

Dear Bay Weekly:
I read Maryland Poet Laureate Michael Glaser’s poem “A Blessing for the Woods” in Bay Weekly [Vol. XII, No. 33: Aug. 12] last week.

I love it. Today I found myself very moved by a special weekend on Smith Island, during part of which I became immersed in Tom Horton’s Island Out of Time. As we left the island on the ferry, it occurred to me that I could maybe write a poem, too! I want to share the results with you. I hope Michael Glaser approves. It’s said that the greatest compliment is imitation.

On Leaving Smith Island
Let me stop to say a blessing for the marshes:
For the soupy brine that feeds them and that they feed,
For the crabs and fish that depend on them for life,
For the heron, egret, osprey, gull and ibis that decorate them like
holiday lights,
For those who would farm them,
For those who would protect them,

For the horizontal greens blues browns that give peace to the eye,
For the sights and sounds and smells that give peace to the soul.

—Catherine S. Weber, Odenton

Michael Glaser’s reply:
Hi Catherine: You not only flatter me, you honor me with a poem that speaks powerfully to me. I’m delighted that my “form” provided you with a way to give voice to such gratitude. I treasure what you’ve written and that you shared it with me!

© COPYRIGHT 2004 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.