Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Bayside Sparkle: A Jewel to Protect and Enjoy


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Don't shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.” - David Alan Harvey

My friend David Benton remarked, "This has your unique stamp of composition. No one else would have seen that." This post blew up compared to most of mine. I received more than 500 likes on one Facebook group (my first photograph ever to do so) and hundreds more in my other social media and what's even better are the many comments where people described how much they too enjoyed the blessings of the bays. Lower Delaware is lucky to have Indian River Bay and Rehoboth Bay, as are the many animals and plants that live in these remarkable estuaries. People also commented how they worried that the bays may become ruined from overdevelopment and their concerns are valid; many new homes and condos are being built on the bay shore as people flock to the area seeking waterfront living. It's so important to understand the importance of the bays in the natural world and that we both protect them and enjoy them. As I suggested in my post on February 20, 2021, they are jewels in Delaware's crown...

Do you realize how very blessed we are to have Rehoboth Bay in our backyard? The ocean and beaches deservedly get top billing around here but the bay is one of our local treasures. A bar-built estuary, Rehoboth Bay is separated from the ocean by a barrier beach and is fed by several inland creeks. Rehoboth Bay gets tidal exchange with the Atlantic Ocean via the Indian River Bay’s stabilized inlet. Combining with the freshwater and nutrients from the creeks, the tidal saltwater flow makes both bays vital transition zones from river to maritime environments and a prolific natural habitat for a large variety of birds and aquatic animals. I captured ‘Bayside Sparkle’ at sunset from a spot just south of Dewey Beach, showing just a hint of our glorious bay. Have a great weekend, my friends, and I hope you get to enjoy some time outside soon!

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Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Dune's Irregulars: Delicate Buffers


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Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” - Dorothea Lange

Another one of my pleading missives about the dunes: please stay off them while enjoying the beach. The fences and warning signs are there to protect the delicate sea grasses which keep the dunes intact despite the steady ocean breeze and powerful waves. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people of all ages ignoring the signs, breaching the fence, and traipsing all over or lounging on the dunes, often for a group snapshot or selfie. Unleashed dogs are frequently the culprits of grass damage because their owners won't follow the law. We must protect our beaches and natural resources. Everyone of us needs to be a steward of the environment so we and our posterity can continue to enjoy its many blessings. Working together is the only way forward. While it usually takes a village to keep a place beautiful, sadly it only takes one selfish person to ruin it. And if you never gave the dunes a second thought, think about what I wrote in my post on February 13, 2021...

Wind and surf relentlessly erode, stripping the sand away and leaving the beach thin and bare. Powerful storms from the sea and high tides can rush water over the weakened beachfront to unprotected areas further inland. And as the water recedes, it carries even more precious sand away with it. Fortunately, the dunes stand guard, ready to face the onslaught and turn back the tide. But what holds the dunes together? What keeps these delicate mounds of sand stable enough to do their important job? In ‘The Dune’s Irregulars,’ meet the veritable guerrilla army of grasses that grow on our fragile dunes, their stems deflecting the punishing wind and their roots stubbornly helping the sand to turn back the ceaseless waves. Alone, each bunch of grass can do little, but look at what a bunch of bunches can do! We too can accomplish far more together than we ever could alone. Let’s be like the many grasses, working cooperatively to keep our beautiful part of the world stalwart and secure. Peace and be well, my friends!

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Monday, February 8, 2021

Last Call: Memento Mori


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In photography, there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.” - Alfred Stieglitz

It's too easy to assume that we can do tomorrow what should be done today. Stephen Covey argued that we too often use our time on the urgent instead of the important, assuming we'll be able to deal with the important things later. A stoic would say to remember that we are going to die, or memento mori. Marcus Aurelius, in his Meditations, wrote, "You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think." Let us realize how precious our lives and relationships are and try to treat them with the respect they deserve on a daily basis, remembering we may not be able to make amends tomorrow for hurt and pain dispensed today. None of this is depressing if we remember the point: our time is a gift and we shouldn't waste it trivially. My post on February 6, 2021 is in memory of two lower Delaware men who by all accounts lived with purpose and integrity...

I don’t know if they knew each other personally but I’m sure they knew of each other. I like to think these two gulls represent the spirits of TJ Redefer and Gus Svolis, both special men who made their marks on the Delaware Shore.
TJ owned Rehoboth Bay Realty, served as the mayor of Dewey Beach, and was known for his genuine love of his hometown proudly showing it off with his amazingly beautiful drone videos.
Gus founded Rehoboth Beach icon Gus & Gus Place way back in 1956 and dependably fed thousands of hungry customers at his charming restaurant at the corner of Wilmington Avenue and the boardwalk.
Sadly, both men passed away last year but their memories will long live on because of the generous way they treated others. In ‘Last Call’ on a sunset pier over Rehoboth Bay, I can see these two Delaware originals peacefully hanging out and keeping an eye over the place they loved.
Hope all of you have a great weekend, my friends! And show someone you love how much they mean to you. Tomorrow is a promise to no one.

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One last remark... I was blessed to receive a reply from TJ's wife Bobbie Redefer in which she expressed her thanks for my post. I'm honored and it warms my heart to know she appreciated it. I share her words here: "I am not sure we know each other, but I just want to say from the bottom of my broken heart, this is a beautiful post and tribute to two wonderful men. TJ touched so many people and am overwhelmed after 33 years of marriage, I am still reminded by everyone what a wonderful husband, father and son and community leader he was. We are all such better people because of him. He was a warm, kind human! We often went to the boardwalk to walk and always stopped in to have a burger at Gus and Gus almost weekly. We loved visiting with Gus and his family, it brought back many childhood memories for TJ. Thank you for remembering them both! I am honored and humbled to say TJ was my husband and best friend. God bless you sir. Love, Bobbie"


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Off Season: Why Winter at the Beach Rocks!


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A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart, and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.” - Irving Penn

One of my favorite memories is being on the beach mid-winter with my young children, flying a kite in the brisk sea breeze. Dressed in fleece and hats, we probably steered the boys clear of the cold water but enjoyed the empty space on the sand and the chill of the salt air. My wife snapped a personal photograph of the three of us that always makes me warm inside when I see it. If you ever find a beach in range on a cold day, go see for yourself why many locals think winter is the best time of the year! As I wrote in my post on January 16, 2021...

Locals know what I’m talking about. That time of year when it’s a bit too damp, chilly, gray, and generally overcast to be pleasing to the fair-weather tourist. The time of year locals can’t wait for every summer. That time of year when those who truly love the seashore head to the ocean, even if you’re from further away. The ‘Off Season,’ when the beaches are empty, dogs can play in the sand, and parking is easy. I hope you get a chance to experience a mid-winter surf stroll with your love, your friend, or perhaps your dog someday soon. Peace and be well!

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