Bonnie presented us with homemade cookies after we finished the coral clean today. Chocolate chip cookies. You could taste the butter in them. It was a Thanksgiving treat from our favourite dive instructor from the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
My best childhood memory is from where Bonnie’s from. Every time we crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Going to the ocean. It was the only regular vacation my family had together when we lived in Maryland.
It was fantastic. We hung out in Chincoteague and Assateague Islands in the summer. We’d get bitten by huge horse flies which followed the wild horses around. Jumped into the Atlantic Ocean for respite and tried to persuade our miniature dachshunds to go for a paddle too. Their little legs rotated like clock hands even before we put them in the water. In the evenings, going back to Ocean City, we’d stop at a roadside restaurant to eat piles of blue crabs dipped in butter. It was the Chesapeake’s signature dish.
Today I’ll take the cookies. Still, meeting Bonnie has been a gift for me. Not only did I wait so long to find someone so dedicated to the marine world who would help us learn her coral-growing craft. She also comes from somewhere in my past. And even though it’s gone for me now, she still reminds me of it. It’s refreshingly bittersweet.
I could have lived on the shores of the Chesapeake once. There was a window of time in my 20s where I could have jumped back. I didn’t do it in the end. Fished and sailed and re-built Bay oyster reef. The Chesapeake has been changing for some time now – with eutrophication and the effects of overuse of the ecosystem surrounding it. It is still an intoxicating and wild place though. Its people straight-talking and blessed to live by its shores. Well, I think so.
Meanwhile there’s Bonnie. And her chocolate chip cookies. So, all in all, a lot to give thanks for. Here’s to growing coral.