Friday, April 2, 2010

The Misadventures of Chesapeake Bay Woman

Once upon a time, Chesapeake Bay Woman needed photos of the New Point Lighthouse, commissioned by Thomas Jefferson two centuries ago--give or take some decades. But even though her camera was solidly perched on the railing at the New Point Lighthouse Observation Deck, her shaky zoom lens could only produce blurry pictures. And this was not good.

Chesapeake Bay Woman grew increasingly frustrated, because she could see a stretch of golden sand right there across a vast expanse of swamp marsh grass. The beach was way closer to the lighthouse and would require much less use of the zoom. However, that beach was not technically a part of the official New Point Observation Deck. And this, too, was not good.

For emphasis, she'd like to repeat that there was nothing but swamp, marsh and heavy vegetation between where she stood and that pristine piece of sandy heaven she so desperately sought.

Packing up her attitude camera, she trotted back to the car where she sat and stewed. She really needed a good shot of the lighthouse, but she did not own a tripod or a decent lens, nor did she have a clue any formal training in anything, much less how to properly use her camera in photography, so the only viable way to produce a decent picture given her skill set involved a closer vantage point.

Earlier driving in she noticed a path leading down to who knows where what appeared to be the exact pristine beach she sought. This same path, like the beach she sought, was not at all really a part of the official observation deck area, yet there was very little delineation between this area and the official observation area. In other words, since there were no signs stating otherwise, why not?

And now we have arrived at the accelerated, abbreviated, mathematical part of this story. The extended version would fill the Library of Congress a book.

Here's the equation:

1 Chesapeake Bay Woman, saturated with adrenaline, who needs closer proximity to the lighthouse because she doesn't know how to work her camera


1 Unknown, very narrow path with 8-foot high reeds and swamp mud on either side


1 heavy dose of standing water, mud, briars and fallen trees


0 Knowledge of where the path lead


1 sincere conviction that it went to golden sand and a perfect vantage point for photographing the lighthouse


1 Bit of common sense


15,003 Inches of rain this week in a place that is already below sea level most days


1 tombstone, an old one, lying on a tree stump right next to the path


1 Near heart attack, and more and more difficulty making it through the mud and rising water


3 more tombstones ensconced in briars, barely visible from the so-called "path"


1 Recollection of someone telling me about a haunted cemetery except this could not possibly be the same one ...or could it?


1 About face and a sprint out of there that would have broken the sound barrier, if not for the fact that her tennis shoes were soaking wet and she was up to her ankles in mud, plus her ears were being pierced by briars.


0 decent shots of the lighthouse. Still.

The End.

p.s. Come back tomorrow for a picture of one of the unexpected tombstones and a much shorter post.


Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

OK, just to be clear, when I say path I really mean "dense jungle thicket."

This was a thicket on top of a swamp, and there happened to be a barely visible trail going through.

The photo in the post was taken from the observation deck with the shaky zoom lens. Not good.

The photo that *almost* was taken (had I brought my hip boots and been able to plow through the thicket-swamp and not run into a cemetery from the 1800s) would have been much better.

Maybe I'll get back there the next drought we have. Of course then, there'll be water moccasins, fiddler crabs and horseflies the size of buzzards.

Autumnforest said...

My very favorite place in the world is that magical lighthouse! I remember going there in the 60s and early 70s when it was abandoned and a wreck. My brother and I would sneak in the boat over there and play pirates and such. As an adult and a ghost hunter, I've got a dream of going back there for a hunt. There were some strange things that occurred in there and I look for more answers. I think it was my favorite childhood adventure. It's so good to see it again. It makes me feel all squishy inside.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

If you want more details on this particular patch of swamp, go to Ann Marie's post today which is a respose or continuation (and clarification) of mine. Turns out this was the haunted place she's been talking about.

Ann Marie said...

My response was so long it can be found here.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

It was your "Children of the Corn" moment, where they try to get out of town but keep driving through increasingly narrow roads lined with corn, until they're basically driving right in the field, only to end up right back where they started!

When I was learning to drive in my own rural boondocks (redundant? I think so!), I used to like to explore the back roads. I don't remember the name of the one road other than that it had "Hollow" at the end of it (pronounced HOLLER), and let's just say it left as much of an impression on 16 year old me as your path left on grown-up you.

The end. Pass the wine; recovering these long-hidden memories is traumatic.

My WV is dexoret, and can you get that via prescription or is it OTC now?

mmm said...

I picked the right day to check out what's happening on the Mathews blog. Nice Pic!

Trisha said...

Okay ., . . why did you need the picture of the lighthouse so desperately?

Daryl said...

You didnt mention crabs ...

WV ratste .. rats te didnt get the shot!

Pueblo girl said...

Who was it said to me, just the other day, something to the effect that straying from the well-trod path made life more interesting?

Fighting Mermaid said...

I love this story, CBW! You paint an awesome picture!!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Trisha, it's for a proposal for a potential long-term project. I need representative photos of the county, and the lighthouse really is a must because it's the unofficial symbol of Mathews.

I'm going back on Monday to try again, this time with my hipboots on and Ann Marie as a cruise director.

In the mean time, Mathews Mark called me today, and hooked me up with a GREAT place to take pictures. If I ever have a moment to breathe I will share them, but that might not be until Monday.


Big Hair Envy said...

Happy Easter, CBW! I hope you get that shot Monday;)

foolery said...

Methinks you need to know a waterman with a boat. Ply him with wine and doughnuts.

Mrs F with 4 said...

Oh, oh, OH! I saw one today! A leaf! an actual LEAF! On a TREE! In my YARD!

I was so transfixed by the sight, I went bustle over apex into a disgusting pile of cold wet... snow.

I also just saw a mosquito, so I guess spring really IS coming, eh?

Do we get interior pictures of the lighthouse as well?!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Mrs. F.-Your bustle over apex comment has me busting a gut with laughter. So glad there's hope of at least one green leaf in your near future.

Used to be you could go up in the lighthouse, although I've never been. Not sure if you can still do that, although now that you mention it, it's a question well worth asking, especially for Blog Fest.

Thanks for reading and commenting, y'all. I truly appreciate it.

Grandma J said...

OMG!! Can we go there at Blogfest? Seriously, I want to slop around in the marsh and see those old graves.