Thursday, April 28, 2016


Brackish waters belong to both the sea and the land, and Chincoteague is surrounded by them, by  estuaries and lagoons. In fact (I read on Wikipedia, just checking my terms), the Chesapeake Bay, which surrounds these tidal lowlands, is the largest estuary in the U.S. It's "the drowned river valley of the Susquehanna" — something I never knew but will remember, due to its poetic turn of phrase.

But the word and concept of "brackish" sets the mind to spinning. How often do we run into situations that are a little of this and a little of that; that would be, if transferred into salinity equations, brackish?

Most of the time, I'd say. And that makes the brackish beautiful, which it most certainly is. So even though one is tempted to turn up one's nose at brackish water, to think of it as sluggish and unhealthy, I warmed to it at Chincoteague: the mud flats, the marshy reeds, the waters shining in the late-day sun.


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