One of those places I always hate to leave ….
… is located on the Eastern Seaboard on the lower Delmarva Peninsula in the eastern United States. Since my first visit to the islands of Chincoteague and Assateague in November of1965, I have always rued the drive back along the causeway to the mainland of Virginia. From that first visit when we crossed and drove down from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland, to subsequent trips arriving via the Bay Bridge Tunnel on the Virginia side, I have felt a continuous affinity with these small, narrow bits of land facing the Atlantic Ocean. Return visits in 1970, 1996, 2010 and January of this year, 2012, prove the enduring quality of those feelings.
This affinity embraces the kind, strong, and close knit community of these small islands. On that first visit as a child, I visited Misty on the Beebe Ranch, met Miles Hancock, carver of decoys and farmer of terrapins on Chincoteague, and peered eagerly through the car windows to see the herons, egrets, swans and wild ponies that ranged freely throughout Assateague. Misty and Miles, of course, are no longer living, but the warmth of the community remains. And this January, as on that first-- and subsequent – visit(s), the most compelling aspect, for me, occurs when I stand on Assateague’s unspoiled, windy beach and gaze on the infinity of the Atlantic Ocean.
As Henry David Thoreau so wisely noted, “we need the tonic of wildness.”