The shores of Emerald Isle

The shores of Emerald Isle

Living in the midst of great natural beauty does make a difference in your life.   I don’t have a hard time making that statement.

All I have to do is let my mind wander back to the days when I used to make account calls in Washington, DC.  The memories needed to transport me back to an early morning commute on Interstate 66 are not hidden very deeply.

Life is very different living in what I often call a coastal paradise.  Whether we are able to live here for a few short years or for the next decade doesn’t really matter.  This area has already had a profound impact on the way that I view the world.

Watching the cycle of life that the area nourished by the area beaches and marshes provides a far different perspective than a morning commute to DC on Interstate 66.

The life force that we see along the shores takes many forms. The tiny fish jumping behind our house and the fiddler crabs filling the muddy banks are all part of life in the marsh.  That I cannot quite figure out what the fiddlers or shore birds are eating most of the time doesn’t matter.  This morning I stood in the back door of our garage and watched a great egret calmly grab a small fish from a tiny marsh pond.  I didn’t feel sorry for the fish since being eaten is part of living along the edges of the marsh if you are a small creature.

The shrimp, fiddler crabs, and bait fish all provide nourishment for other creatures as diverse as flounder to red drum and bottle nosed dolphins.  If something dies and sinks to the bottom, the blue crabs are there to recycle it.  The cycle never stops, just like the marsh grass never stops waving in the wind.

On the beach it is easy to lose yourself in the endless march of waves.  Just as creatures live and die in the marsh, the waves are continually moving sand and the life that goes with it from one place to another. Sea creatures wash ashore and the shore birds clean them up.  When a storm and its waves take sand, it is just part of the cycle where some beaches grow at the expense of others.

Being an observer of the natural cycles here along the coast helps you to understand where you fit in the world. It is easy to figure out that the marsh grass will be growing long after we are gone. Also the waves won’t stop moving sand just because we are no longer walking on the beach.

It is reassuring knowing that in spite of all human interference, the marsh grass is still growing here along the sounds and rivers.   At the same time the  wave and wind driven sand keep reminding us that we only can use the land as long as the land allows us that privilege.

When in a city crisscrossed with roads and filled with huge buildings, we humans sometimes feel invincible.   The invincibility disappears here on the edges of the marsh.  A storm like Irene can bring huge changes to the marshes or the impact can be little noticed.  Still you don’t have to drive far to see the power of nature.

Disaster has to strike a city for people to understand what we see on a daily basis.

Living with the knowledge that if you end up falling in the marsh, the blue crabs won’t discriminate against you gives life a little different perspective.

Maybe that knowledge that you are easily recycled takes just a bit off the edge of human arrogance that so prevalent in large cities.

Here in the marshes near the beaches, the big picture often has blue skies, lots of water, and an ocean breeze.  The view here provides warmth, life, and the knowledge that the cycle will continue with or without us.