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UD is scouting dark sky locations for the next good…

… meteor shower, and she finds herself, à ce moment-là, at Pier 450, right on the Chesapeake Bay – a place pretty far from any settlements, and, if you stay here, you have private use of their pier all night long.

The first thing I saw, ambling down the pier and glancing at the clear water, was… a turtle? A dark reptilian head popped up to check me out, and I bent down to greet it, but lookee here: It trailed three feet of tail and turned out to be a northern water snake.

There’s a sculpture garden nearby.

And on Solomon’s Island, also nearby, I found a somewhat shabby Corbusierian house with enviable water views. I toyed with suggesting to Mr UD (who isn’t with me) that we try to buy it.

Yesterday I read Joseph Brodsky’s poem, A Part of Speech, which brilliantly and movingly evokes the unresonant character of what used to be his home.

… A nowhere winter evening with wine…

… [A] star blinks from all the smoke in the frosty heaven,

and no bride in chintz at the window, but dust’s gray craft,

plus the emptiness where once we loved…

… As for the stars, they are always on.

That is, one appears, then others adorn the inklike

sphere. That’s the best way from there to look upon

here: well after hours, blinking.

The sky looks better when they are off.

Though, with them, the conquest of space is quicker.

Provided you haven’t got to move

from the bare veranda and squeaking rocker.

As one spacecraft pilot has said, his face

half sunk in the shadow, it seems there is

no life anywhere, and a thoughtful gaze

can be rested on none of these.

… [O]ne sleeps more soundly in a wooden town,

since you dream these days only of things that happened…


But here, at the very bottom of mine own Maryland, a small state still insufficiently explored by ol’ UD , lie multiple scenes so resonant as to nudge up against surreal. The dark disapproving forest sculpture, the gray unmoving gulls at pier’s end, the massively overcast and also blue and also white bay sky. These will nudge me into dreams not only of things that happened.

Margaret Soltan, September 7, 2022 4:55PM
Posted in: snapshots from the Chesapeake

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