top of page
Bay - Klingel


From: The Bay  by Gilbert Klingel written in 1951.


Every Chesapeake beach is a catalogue of organic failure.  The area between high and low tide is strewn with the wreckage of a multitude oflives.  The shells of mollusks lie broken and abraded in the sand; the fragments of fish bones protrude between the rolling grains; occasionally flashes of shining silver denote the presence of scales detached from some finny body which once moved in the cool green depths; logs spotted with barnacles bleach in the hot sun; and the lacy patterns of colonial bryozoans filigree graying strands of withering seaweed.  Between the windrows of piled-up algae are countless remnants of crabs, whole carapaces intact with spines and still colored with the hues of life or perhaps turning red with the action of the sun, single legs and claws, pieces of joints, flattened flippers, even individual many-faceted eyes, sightless, dull and unseeing.  Mixed with these are the broken portions of other crustaceans, the transparent armor of shrimp and prawn, the empty husks of copepods and isopods.


Nor is this collection of destruction limited to the things of the sea, for the beaches are strewn with the remnants of the life of the air and the land.  Here in one great heterogeneous assemblage is stored the evidence of the universal tragedy.  Sodden wings, loose feathers, the broken, crushed elytra of beetles, the fragile tissue of butterfly wings, parts of grasshoppers and other bugs, the seedlings of plants that somehow fell into the salt water instead of of the fertile soil for which they were intended, wisps of the down of the milkweed and dandelion drifted too far on the wind, clumps of grass and flowers torn by the waves from their abiding places and floated across the Bay, whole trees and saplings washed out by the floods of the rivers, and other wreckage everywhere litters the sands in profusion.

bottom of page