By Alissa Valles
Two men flew over Hiroshima,
hailed on return by General Spaatz.
Back home, one entered a monastery.
The other embarked on a life of crime
(leaving the money behind on the counter).
His sentence was reduced by the criminal courts
when experts explained his need for punishment.
God of pity, god of wrath.
We spent what will surely be our last day at the beach for 2009 at Calvert Cliffs State Park, where we hiked the two miles from the parking lot to the beach after having a picnic near the play area. It was an unseasonably warm November day, 70 degrees without a cloud in the sky, so the perfect afternoon for a long hike in the woods and a walk by the Chesapeake -- access to Calvert Cliffs themselves is restricted since there's been so much vandalism (the region has a treasure trove of shark's teeth and fossils), but the creek we followed through the swamp empties into the bay and there's a narrow, pretty sandy beach with lots of shells, heavy clay-type stones, and bits of shipwreck that wash up (today it was more than bits, there were large pieces of rusted metal strewn along the shore).
Since we were so close to Solomons, we drove in and picked up The Captain's Table's wonderful Cream of Crab soup, of which I could only get away with eating a couple of spoonfuls but it was still worth it. The restaurant is fronted by a harbor with many sailboats, swans, and shore birds, while it backs up to an older boathouse, fishing dock, and the Calvert Marine Museum's protected wetlands and lighthouse, so the views are beautiful all around. We met a couple of fishermen who'd caught huge bass and were eager to show them off before we drove home into the sunset.
A surprising number of trees by the shore still had their leaves, and the dune grasses were still golden.
Of course I had to take my shoes off and wade, though the water was quite cold -- a big difference from a few weeks ago when we went swimming in the bay at Flag Ponds State Park a couple of miles away.
The seagulls, loons, cormorants and other birds did not seem to mind the temperatures, however -- very warm for November.
The path to the cliffs goes through the woods alongside a creek and later a marsh.
This beaver dam undoubtedly is part of the reason why the wetlands thrive.
Despite the late autumn season, turtles came out to enjoy the sunshine.
In Solomons, this fisherman showed off his prize catch.
We missed in their entirety both the Ravens and Redskins games, which it sounds like was a blessing since they both lost. Then we couldn't bear to watch the Cowboys-Eagles game -- being unable to root for Dallas and unwilling to root for Michael Vick -- so we watched Due South's "Dead Men Don't Throw Rice" and "Say Amen," both of which are delightful -- I preferred the former, which had us all screeching with laughter, but Ray K's cynicism and religious fanatics go so well together, too. Now I have lots of laundry to move before bed.