After the Gale

I couldn't wait to get out to the bay the day after the gale warning, and I was not disappointed. The beach was entirely changed! Of course, the general coastline remained the same, but the details had changed more dramatically than the usual day-to-day tidal modifications.

I couldn’t wait to get out to the bay the day after the gale warning, and I was not disappointed. The beach was entirely changed! Of course, the general coastline remained the same, but the details had changed more dramatically than the usual day-to-day tidal modifications. Gulls rested on choppy waters in the first inlet.

The tidal duff that is usually scattered in streaks has piled up a foot deep in the first inlet...

The tidal duff that is usually scattered in streaks has piled up a foot deep in the first inlet…

...the rest of the beach was swept clean.

…the rest of the beach was swept clean.

The salt marsh filled to the brim, and all along the beach where it was previously not possible to get both the bay and the marsh in the same frame, I could now capture both.

The salt marsh filled to the brim, and all along the beach where it was previously not possible to get both the bay and the marsh in the same frame, I can now capture both.

Untrammeled scallop

Untrammeled scallop

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Marsh to the right, bay to the left. With the dune grasses flattened or buried (or torn away) by the storm, I can see both sides for the length of the point.

Marsh to the right, bay to the left. With the dune grasses flattened or buried (or torn away) by the storm, I can see both sides for the length of the point.

The beach seems so changed, yet I can't be sure of how it looked before. Am I simply expecting change, and therefore see it? Is it possible I never looked for the bay from this spot, or was it really obscured by the grasses?

The beach seems so changed, yet I can’t be sure of how it looked before. Am I simply expecting change, and therefore see it? Is it possible I never looked for the bay from this spot, or was it really obscured by the grasses? For sure (I think!) the waters are closer together than I have ever seen them.

A stretch of small pebbles laid down by waves and then blown by wind into little pedestals.

A stretch of beach where small pebbles laid down by waves have been blown by wind into little pedestals.

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A new braided channel from the marsh to the bay flows out by the usual down trees. I've seen this channel open before, more than a year ago after a storm, but the next tide closed it off again.

A new braided channel from the marsh to the bay flows out by the usual down trees. I’ve seen this channel open before, more than a year ago after a storm, but the next tide closed it off again.

Looking back up into the marsh from the bay along the new channel. Couldn't quite leap it, and this time there was no fallen log to walk across. Oh well. Wet shoes.

Looking back up into the marsh from the bay along the new channel. Couldn’t quite leap it, and this time there was no fallen log to walk across. Oh well. Wet shoes.

The Stump, roots completely covered with sand. My sense is that the whole beach was raised a couple of feet with sand pushed up in the storm. Nobody else has been out this far since the storm. Our prints are the first; the whole beach has been smooth packed sand, not the usual stripes and layers of hard, soft, fine, coarse; most of the driftwood washed away.

The Stump, roots completely covered with sand. My sense is that the whole beach was raised a couple of feet with sand pushed up in the storm. Nobody else has been out this far since the storm. Our prints are the first; the whole beach has been smooth packed sand, not the usual stripes and layers of hard, soft, fine, coarse; most of the driftwood washed away.

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The steep bank of the usual outlet at the tip of the point supports my theory of a sand deposit from the storm. This is usually a smooth slope, not nearly so high even in low tide. Today's walk has been a study in perception: it feels so different than it did two days ago, and I can pinpoint a few specific changes. But overall, it's called into question my powers of observation, recollection, and documentation. And it has only enhanced my fascination with the beautiful, mercurial Chesapeake Bay.

The steep bank along the usual outlet at the tip of the point supports my theory of a sand deposit from the storm. This is usually a smooth slope, not nearly so high even in low tide. Today’s walk has been a study in perception: it feels so different than it did two days ago, and I can pinpoint a few specific changes. But overall, it’s called into question my powers of observation, recollection, and documentation. And it has only enhanced my fascination with the beautiful, mercurial Chesapeake Bay. 

 

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