Some more photos of the beach, the main one mostly, they have a huge fire pit, I do not know the laws in your part of the earth but here in Jersey? They might call out swat if you start a fire on the beach (you are not even allowed on the beaches at night)… in rural Maryland ? You can sit by a huge bonfire serenaded by the waves and bay breeze (while having a bay breeze)… and that my friends makes it worth every penny… and see all the people ? Um… so yeah, this is why I love the place so I can unpack my thoughts… or not think at all.
I tried to capture the vibe of the place (including fauna) This is a northeast US beach towered over by 200 foot cliffs (to the west) which makes it rather unique (although the beach itself is not very deep due to this fact). The ‘beach’ by the house I rent is gone completely now). This private community was founded by scientists back in the 1940s interested in the local American chestnut tree population and vast amount of Miocene era fossil deposits (including Megalodon – fossils which are easily found washed up on the beach – you can see them trapped in the rocks/clay in a couple of the photos). This is more of a housing community than a town… and is surrounded by thousands of acres of nature trails (American Chestnut Land Trust) which the community itself has chipped in and bought up over the years (next time I will get more photos and video of that – they are awesome.) Great hidden gem in rural Maryland (and some great local restaurants only 15 minutes away). If you have any questions drop a comment in. I am glad to share the information about this area to anyone.
vacation… as a creature of habit I do tend to frequent the same places year to year, I like the familiarity, it allows me to truly unplug and drain the old overactive brain from the strain of work and the everyday, this is what I am doing this week, vacate, quite literally, I could feel all the negative stress flow out of me as soon as I arrived and got settled in, my mind is clear, empty, sure, I keep tugs on the tethers of the other life I put on a shelf for a week, almost impossible to totally disconnect, but now this is like a second home, a refuge, I know the town as well as my own @ home, I know the roads, the lands, the turns, the tides, there is comfort in that, and how just super nice people are here, almost surreal, they all wave hello regardless of what is going on, it takes some getting used to but becomes second thumb after not too long, a day or so, I spend the days walking the beach for hours upon hours, there are more birds than people, my crocs in hand I just walk for as long as the encroaching tide allows, kind of like Red @ the end of Shawshank, except I am not looking to find anyone, and I am not a felon, so, besides that it feels the same, I think of the quote Red (Morgan Freeman) says about prison, about the walls being ‘funny’, and I wonder if that applies to my back there life, the walls are there to keep you in but after a while you depend on them, have I constructed my own prison? for comfort, regardless of it is the best I can do for myself or not? and does this show that sometimes you need a place, fictional or otherwise, to step outside yourself and take a look at your life from some other perspective… in a way I think we all know what we are doing wrong or could improve, but sometimes being able to stop the ride and get off provides a clarity like no other, and I am in that space now… wed night, already? I can feel the creeping twinge of anxiety approaching knowing I am halfway through my time here, like all my good porch time I will try to bottle this up somewhere in the corner of my mind , remember the lapping waves of the bay on my feet, all day the subtle roar, walking along the shore, the sweet soreness in my legs from walking in sinking wet sand all day, the occasional encounter with people and their dogs, the little DYI beach houses with kayaks stacked from summers gone, other ones crook and bent from years of storms, neglect and surf, the majestic grey heron that won’t let me get within twenty yards – every year, I wonder what sort of talisman I can create and capture all this charm, to summon when needed later on.
Notes… I am currently in Scientist Cliffs, MD… I come here every year, it is an unique place if you read up on it. I can not say I am roughing it, there is cable internet (upload speed is iffy so I can’t post as much as I really want to photo/video wise)… and a mere fifteen minute drive into town has tons of dining options, and of course the seafood is to die for… crabs crabs crabs… and oysters, if it was possible to OD on oysters I would be quite dead. This is a Covid desert pretty much (compared to New Jersey) but still not totally open, and honestly I am not ready for that either (doing all take out, thankfully all my fave places have been scraping by and are still here… so I tip them well as I have done fine in this covid time money wise). This is a great place for kids also, if you want any info just shoot me a line, I am glad to share.
Experience first light in scientist cliffs, maryland… as I saw it a few days ago… I was staying up on the cliffs about 200 feet above the beach… the sun rises up over the bay, slowly, calmly, the waves are beneath, waiting… put it full screen and breath… and then click to look…
I am by no means a morning person, heck, look at my post times, but that said I made a point to wake up and crawl out into the cold (OK, only 40s), but it was an effort, this just shows me everything, it encompasses everything, it is the why I return to this spot every year, if only for a week, I do consider myself lucky to be able to do so, sure there are tropical paradises all over the world, but this is a mere 4 hour drive from me… and besides that I firmly believe in finding beauty wherever you may go…
If you like my posts, let me know, engage and enrage… or post something nice, maybe you don’t blog, or maybe you do ? I would love to hear from you. thanks … in advance and if you don’t react, well… I forgive you (just this once ya know)…
I consider myself good with the written word, but sometimes nature just makes it impossible for me to speak on paper like she reveals to my eyes, maybe that is why I do not write much (at all) when I am here, I am overwhelmed by what I see so I use that lens thing to share it with you, I am by no means a photographer, or even a pretend one, I can only point and hope it captures what I am seeing for sharing here, so I will post something I wrote previously but have not gotten around to posting immediately (from my last vacation apparently)…
10.8.2018 Upon Steger Beach, Cape May NJ
I write these lines, in an ancient place
time in sand and hand in hand
under the starlit sky of constellations
who’s light I see
spans further than all generations of man
the surf and the waves do not witness
the bustling about
the faces, the walking, the talking
our lives of importance carved in ego
as a vapor, a mist, passing
all to fall, all the while
the ocean, pulses on, millennial song
against the shore, been and gone
Musical accompaniment: (to me the perfect beach song…)
this is one of those songs that transports me to a certain time, I had my ipod mini (remember those? lol) and I sat nights looking out at the atlantic in islamorada (FL Keys), I remember watching thunderstorms coming in off the ocean in little castles on the horizon, I could see the lightning on the stark aqua tone as the waves lapped at my toes, all in paradise, late at night, cradling a drink, with this song as the soundtrack. sometimes a song just does that, this is that, for me.
I have been uploading plenty of vids to my youtube channel, I ain’t saying they are great but hopefully they do reveal the feel of where I am at.
I am on vacation in a non vacation location (say that 10 times fast), but for me this is perfect, the stars are really wonderful tonight, none of my cameras can capture the low light shots though (it is great to see all the constellations so bright – even if the light that I see is beyond the age of all civilization). But anyway the rain stopped about 3pm so I was able to get out onto the beach, I wandered about in awe like I usually do, this place floors me, it grounds me, I hope it allows me bring this feeling to the world, I mean, isn’t that what it is all about ? I was able to find some cool fossils but also just these views, I am thankful for just that, and I need to remember that… and then there is the great food (sushi tonight: baltimore roll: lump crab, avocado, reverse roll (rice on the outside), rolled in old bay seasoning… oh man, total food buzz. (I also got baby octopuses as an app – they were way bigger than other times I have had them, very chewy, but damn delicious)
please pepper me with questions about this area. I love it here and have been coming here for years now. I think this is an absolute hidden gem of the east coast of the US. Plus if you think there is somewhere like this I should know about .. I want to know!!! (Virginia, Delaware etc etc !!!)
I am off for the week, thrilled to be in one of my favorite places on the east coast, Scientist Cliffs, MD… Sure, the weather is not being cooperative (rainy) and driving down I got stuck behind an accident on 95 that had the highway shut down to one lane, but there is something about this place that speaks to me, this is not some resort/tourist area (unlike Solomons just south of here, plus this is not far from Washington DC), in fact all the locals think I am nuts when I tell them I am on vacation, some even recognize me as that guy who they see every year around this time (if you read any of my blog you can tell I am a different bird so no news there), I am not near any major city which for someone who lives in the shadow of NYC is a treat (to actually see the stars and even cosmic dust/galaxies @ night).
This area is known for Miocene era fossils, you literally just walk the beach and find shark teeth half the size of your hand (see some I have found here), man, in Jersey I have to dig and sift for hours to get teeth half as impressive, also this is a completely private area populated originally by scientists (um, hence the name) and one of their requirements was that the homes are log cabins (literally), now these days that requirement has relaxed a bit (the people I rent from call the house next door a McMansion – it is more modern and they only come here on the weekends), but for the most part 80% of the homes are log cabins or at least very rustic, the particular place I rent (the only rental actually, everyone else lives here) is about 100 years old and was built by hand by the patriarch of the family I rent from… they left the cabin as is (they raised their kids here), so it is like renting from family, all the old photos, kid’s art etc are all here on the walls including a deer head mounted on the wall, which creeps me out late at night honestly, there are these gnarly paths down to the beach as well (I am 100ft plus feet above the bay – which makes for amazing sunrises – my photos here), so last night was my first night here and I just had to go greet the bay, to hear the sound of the waves crashing up against the cliffs, I love the sound, it really just calms me, as violent as it actually is, such a natural rhythm plus the wind, it doesn’t need to be a summer or warm, just the tide is alright by me, so as I was saying earlier there are these totally crazy paths down to the beach carved out of the ravines hiding in the spaces of the cliffs, so last night I filmed my walk back and posted it on Youtube… someone should film a horror flick here, all I need is some creepy breathing or music.
I usually do not write creatively when I am here, although I have been reborn as of last april (I don’t mean religiously, I just felt different after an event in my life, that’s all). I keep journals on me all the time, my car, my backpack etc. So I kind of expect I will write some stuff, but I am not going to force it, well… that is my goal, all we can do is go forward ya know ?
So anyway, I had a rockfish gyro tonight, I don’t especially like Feta cheese, this had Feta, which, to be honest I could have asked before I ordered it (the dish turned out to be very good), but I wanted to get something different than I usually order @ Stoney’s (seriously the crab cakes are just heavenly), but I will go back and order what I usually do, the neptune platter (an assortment of broiled seafood), of course I racked out first with a 6 pack of raw oysters, and I learned something, they serve raw oysters with:
horseradish (diced up separate)
lots of crackers
So… I love raw oysters (actually I prefer clams) but the crackers threw me… what the hell are they for in this application ? So I asked the bar maiden who told me people eat the oysters on the crackers (I thought maybe they crumbled the crackers over them?)! So strange to me, I have had oysters up and down the east coast from New Hampshire to the Carolinas… I have not seen this particular application, ever, I guess I never paid attention here as I have been coming for years but kind of cast off the crackers… did I try it their way? no… I like to taste the oysters, the brine, the grit, I chew them, I like to know the flavor of the water in which they grew, and in this case they are so mild growing in a bay, I was just recently in Cape May and of course the best oyster there is the Cape May Salts, and they taste of the ocean, which I dig, but these were also great, so clean and light, a little smaller than some but a little Tabasco, lemon, and cocktail sauce on the quick dip, and let them melt in your mouth, that is where it is at… well, at least for me, and well, this is my blog after all… will I try the oysters “their” way.. hmmm maybe, I have to be open but I know what I like, maybe just one out of a dozen I might sacrifice to these heathens…
So I do not (generally) write too much while visiting Scientist Cliffs MD but I found an exception from some work back in 2016. I also have some short videos on my nascent YouTube account if you want to get a feel for the area. I have a go-pro now so next time I will get better video (from my kayak). Anyway… to the words!
“untitled 11/2016” scientist cliffs, md
the cliffs of calvert
stone work wrought by tireless wash
lulled by wind and waves
left to ponder and erode
grottoes caverns and tiny holes
and with time and weight
never ceasing march
on winter or spring
or storms lashing or calm pause
thunder to crash
dawn and gentle lapse
all in and all out
all in and all out
and then back again
rocks to sand.