Archives for June 2016

It’s Hard to See the Forest When Counting Trees for Harvest by Tom Horton

 

If you walked alone and untutored through the tall pines, century-old oaks, big beeches and sweet gums of the forest, near where the Eastern Shore’s Wicomico River carves a bend known as Pirates Wharf, I’m pretty sure the need to begin cutting it down as the best way to protect its health wouldn’t leap to mind.

Indeed, if you were accompanied by Joan Maloof, emeritus biology professor at Salisbury University and a nationally regarded expert on old-growth forests, you’d come away convinced the woods at Pirates Wharf is well on its way to becoming something truly special — if we let it follow its natural destiny across the next century or two.

Maloof lived on the property for 32 years, until she was recently notified her lease was being terminated by Wicomico County. It had bought the forest and adjacent riverfront in 1997 for a future park. (The eviction notice came two days after she stopped the county from cutting trees in another park — “a coincidence,” county officials say).

Maloof would tell you the splendid diversity of plants and animals that flourish best in ancient forests; would show you the impressive number of warblers, thrushes, hawks, owls and other birds that even now inhabit Pirates Wharf’s interior; and would point out the several species of amphibians that are dependent on dozens of acres of wetlands deep in the woods there. She’d delight in the dead and dying trees as much as those growing huge. The former are among the best parts of aging woodlands, returning nutrients to the soil, creating light gaps for new growth, and providing for a rich abundance of insects and fungi nutritious to forest life.

You would receive an equally impressive education on forests were you to walk the same one-mile-by-half-mile block of woods with Matt Hurd, a young forester with Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources. But you’d emerge feeling you’d walked through a completely different world.

Hurd would explain how Maryland is losing forests to development; how, with 90 percent of our forests in private hands, the state needs to persuade owners about the value of retaining trees. But he’d also show you how much of Pirates Wharf is “overstocked” with bigger, older trees that are no longer adding marketable timber very rapidly and are growing ever more vulnerable to declining health, disease, and uprooting in winds.

Cutting would “improve and renew” the forest, he’d tell you. And large sections of the renewed forest could then be managed to favor a single species — loblolly pine, which is the primary harvest of the lower Eastern Shore’s commercial timber industry.

Hurd has written it all up in a Forest Stewardship Plan, submitted to Wicomico County last year at their request. He says he is proud of his report, and feeling “kind of beaten up” by Maloof and a number of environmental groups who are lobbying the county to let the forest be.

He points out that he has “given the county what they wanted,” which was a plan that specified commercial timber harvest as a first priority. His plan calls for clear-cutting trees in sections, spaced over a number of years, and in some cases — like the wetlands areas — cutting selectively or not at all. It could permit some recreational use by future park-goers even as timbering proceeded, he said.

A commercial forester friend who’s seen Hurd’s report said, “given the county’s wishes, Matt’s done a responsible job.”

Still, we’re looking at two different worlds here: the forest as ecosystem or the forest as timber production; stand back and let nature do its thing over a very long time, or manage intensively for relatively narrow purposes. And it’s land purchased with nearly a million taxpayer dollars for a park.

“[The county is] just trying to be responsible, says Wicomico administrator Wayne Strausburg. “To be perfectly frank, we’re not doing it for economic reasons . . . only for the health of the forest. If DNR [Department of Natural Resources] came to us and said leave it alone is the best thing to do, we would do that.”

So the solution could begin with the county requesting a second “worldview,” a report as good as Hurd’s on what it would mean to manage the forest lightly and for the long term. In this view it’s certain many big trees will die of disease or old age; but also certain the forest as a natural system will continue to age beautifully.

The DNR has a Natural Heritage group, which would appear well-equipped to write such a document. It would further our education of what constitutes a “healthy forest,” an education with implications beyond this patch of woods to natural resources management in general — natural oyster reefs versus power dredging, for example.

The writer Aldo Leopold expressed it decades ago when governments were busily building “scenic overlooks” to accommodate motorists: “Recreational development is a job not of building roads into lovely country, but of building receptivity into the still unlovely human mind.”

Tom Horton has written about Chesapeake Bay for more than 40 years, including eight books. He lives in Salisbury, where he is also a professor of Environmental Studies at Salisbury University.

The Resurrection and the Life of the Republican Party by Robert Day

Casa Botin, Madrid, 2016 – We are four at a Holy Week dinner at Ernest Hemingway’s favorite Spanish restaurant and, over bread and wine, we have consecrated ourselves as saviors of the Republican Party. None of us are now, nor have ever been, Republicans; but our parents were in the days of a lot of Ike and a bit of Taft–as the writer among us put it. We believe in the two party system. Beyond the writer, one of us is a painter, another a psychologist, and the fourth a medical doctor.

The psychologist proposes a bolt of Electroconvulsive Therapy for the Republican Party and be done with it: Remember the scene in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” she says. Randle McMurphy is an amusing version of Donald Trump. Think of Hillary as Nurse Ratched. They deserve her.

We could, says the painter, gesso over the Republican’s recent past. Cover up the canvas of Billy Graham, Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon’ s Southern Strategy; Reagan’s speech at Philadelphia, Mississippi; Lee Atwater bragging about the success of the racist code in “state’s rights”; Willy Horton; Fox News; Russ Limbaugh; Glenn Beck–and make for the Republicans a better painting of themselves. Or at least give them a blank canvas to see what they can do on their own. So long, see you never again: Karl Rove, George Bush, Mitt Romney and Ted Cruz et al. The painter is the only one among us who is also clairvoyant.

Over Casa Botin’s famous suckling pig and with more than a bottle of Rioja Alta, we talk about these ideas and wonder among ourselves if it is worth it to save the Republicans from themselves. Why not just let them slice and dice themselves into the garbage disposal of history: Think of the Whig Party. But then the doctor has an idea:

All disease is either self-limiting or fatal, he says. And even if it is potentially fatal, you can sometimes cure it by treating the symptoms. Rabies is a rare example. If the patient survives the treatment, the body is purged of the disease and it can recover. But the cure has to run its course.

Then is it true, I say, that in this case the Republican Party is the patient and Donald Trump is rabies? And if that is true, and if we can cure the Party of the disease by treating the symptoms so that it is purged of Donald Trump, it might recover to its former, non-religious, non-racist self after the fever has broken.

There is some talk about writers making metaphors in excess, but after we get a third bottle of Rioja Alta we toast the idea and start on making it work.

Station one: to convince all the Republicans from Brownback in Kansas to Kasich in Ohio, to William Kristol on television and everyone in between, to not only stop bashing Trump, but in a moment of televised unity on the Megyn Kelly’s Fox News show declare themselves in full and active support of Donald Trump: Pan to Trump smiling. Continue to “The Morning Joe”: Pan to Joe Scarborough smiling—not that it would be new. For 24/7 on the split and half split and full screens all over America with lines of text scudding across the bottom we see and hear the likes of Peggy Noonan opine thatTrump is tres tweet. And Anne Coulter says: Hair we are, at last, at last.

Station two: The Republican editorial writers and Talking Heads stop nattering on about the party of Lincoln and Reagan and Goldwater (a oxymoron in last two cases) and get with the program. No more speeches about how Trump doesn’t have the temperament to be President like nuke em Henry!- Nixon. No more pious lectures from New York Times writers about Trump, No, Never with quotations from the Bible to make the point. Or the resurrection of the Lincoln Battalion to ride to the non-communist rescue. Stop the mantra of Conservative Values (whatever they are). No more Third Party plots (Trump is his own Third Party). “Get over it,” as Justice Scalia sneered.

Station Three: The liberal press needs to deep-six its grin. No chortling about how the Republican Party is so worthless it could not even defeat a presidential candidate who was a Black Socialist Muslim born in Kenya. Like foxes with a mad dog on the loose: go to ground. Write columns and editorials about sunshine and rain, clouds parting, patches of blue sky and the benefits of a liberal arts education. Do not (DO NOT) go on talk shows either in person or by phone.

But, we wonder, what will the cure-in-progress look like? How will we know the fever of Rabid Trump is infecting the Republican Party, and when will we know the fever has broken?

There will be six signs, says the painter.

Like the red calf, says the writer. If she is the psychic among us I am the cynic. Meanwhile the Doctor is getting concerned that our systemic metaphor is making a mess of medical science. I don’t want the AMA to know about this, he says.

The first sign is that Jeb! drops out after spending x to y $$$$$ per vote. The second sign is that Trump says Japan and South Korea should have their own Atomic bombs; the third sign is that Ted Cruz chooses Carly Fiorina as his running mate; the fourth sign is that William Kristol goes on national television where he claims Trump must be stopped and is told by the program’s host that he needs to move on from “denial,” “anger”, “bargaining” and past “depression” straight to “acceptance”. The fifth sign is people burning their Republican Party Membership cards. The sixth sign is that Paul Ryan, the Republican Speaker of the House, observes that Donald Trump exemplified a “textbook definition of racism” and then Ryan endorsed Trump to be President of the United States.

Three of us shake our heads in disbelief.

There will also be an apparition, the painter continues.

Jung writes about signs, dreams, and apparitions, says the psychologist who still thinks a bolt of Electroconvulsive Therapy is the best bet. Just let the Republicans have that dead stare in their eyes like Jack Nicholson while Political Science Professors take their students on field trips to have a look-see at recent American History.

So, I ask, in the end, Hillary wins two elections in a row, the fever breaks and the Republican Party is cured and resurrected?

I’m glad I’m retired, says the Doctor.

What about the apparition? The psychologist asks. There is some excitement among the waiters near the front door not far from our table. A young woman will appear before us, the painter says. She will be wearing a black beret over her blond hair. It is as if she has been studying Spanish for a semester in Madrid and sometimes comes into Casa Botin to cheers of ‘Rubia!,’Rubia!’ ‘Blond! blond!’ We will make of her what we want her to be.

‘Wouldn’t it be pretty to think so,’ says the doctor, as into Casa Botin arrives a vision of youth, health and well-being.

Robert Day is the author of ten books, including novels, works of literary non-fiction,, collections of short stories, novellas, and poetry. His most recent book is Robert Day for President: An Embellished Campaign Autobiography

Delmarva Review: Connected By Shawna Ervin

“Tell him your name,” the woman holding the horse’s reins said again. She looked down and twisted the toe of her boot in the dirt.

I stood several steps away from the horse and said nothing. It was morning, the shade long from the barn to the corral, reaching mud puddles lying by the fence. After a week of heavy rain, the July heat pressed on my back. Flies buzzes around me, the horses, the mud. A trickle of sweat ran from the brim of my stiff, new sun hat, along my hairline in front of my ear. I brushed it away, then rubbed the back of my hand on my jeans.

“Go ahead, tell him who you are.” The woman shifted the reins from one hand to the other and patted Cisco gently on the side of his neck.

I didn’t know what to say. I had learned of the workshop through WINGS, a nonprofit for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and had received a scholarship. Was I merely a survivor? Was I limited by other parts of my identity? Did I still harbor the little girl who liked horses and watching my dad groom them?

I considered giving a false name, maybe Gretchen or Zoe, something so unlike my given name that I could be someone with a very different past and not need the workshop at all. I stepped forward and brushed my fingers down a strip of white hair on horse’s nose.

“Hi, Cisco. I’m Shawna,” I muttered, running the syllables together. The other participant, a woman brimming with confidence and horse knowledge, boldly introduced herself to a white horse. I shuffled beside Cisco, shoved my fingers through the handle of a blue jelly brush, and hoped someone would issue a set of instructions I could master. It was quiet.

The workshop was called Horse Ibachakali, ibachakali meaning “connection” in Choctaw. The Choctaw language has several words for connection; ibachakali is the type of connection aspen trees have. On the surface each tree appears to be independent, but underground the trees belong to one large, intricate root system that holds the trees together as one, strengthening them individually and collectively. We were going to learn how to be a part of a reciprocal relationship with a horse, the instructor said.

No, I thought. I can’t. I am a liability in relationships due to the damage I’ve sustained. I will hurt the horse if I get close. I might break myself. I can’t afford closeness or connection. No.

I placed the brush tentatively on Cisco’s reddish-orange back, brushing slowly in small strokes along the side of his spine. Around me I noticed splinters in the rotting picnic table, the changing shapes of wispy clouds over me, where the paint had chipped off the metal fence. There were crops of dandelions by several fence posts, the dirt was a pale brown, more dust than dirt.

“Look at the horse,” the instructor said.

As I brushed, his hair rose and fell in tiny waves, leaving thin tracks. I followed the brush lightly with my left hand and rubbed my fingers together. They were greasy.

_____

My dad’s hands were callused and strong. He wrapped them around my slight child’s body and held on. The calluses snagged on my skirts, the seat of my pants, nightgowns. His body was thin, his nearly six feet hunched forward, as if saying he wasn’t sure of something. Strength erupted from him with rage or desire, his frame stretching until his arms reached around me and held on like tentacles. When I moved, they squeezed tighter. It was love that I wanted.

“You’re getting so big,” he said pulling me close, looking from my hips to my chest where small bumps had appeared and were growing despite my hatred of them. “You’re so pretty.” The snaps on his Western shirts cut into my chest, the love between his legs and mine lumpy and swollen. I left my body there a series of limp limbs and escaped into fantasies in my head, focused on seams between the wood paneling and etchings in the plaster. I didn’t feel the pain when I bit my lip to keep from crying.

_____

“Let go of any judgments, memories, or thoughts,” the workshop instructor said. “Focus on your breath and the present moment.”

I gasped a breath in and held it. With a long brush stroke, I let the breath out in a big huff, then struggled to inhale again. My eyes widened and I stepped back from the horse. Liability, I thought. The instructor walked toward me. Her shirt was green plaid, the snaps the same pearl my dad would have worn.

“Just think about your breath.” I copied her raspy, deep breaths. Inhale. Brush stroke. Exhale. Brush stroke. Inhale. Exhale. I closed my eyes and smelled manure, fresh hay, mud, dust.

_____

“Take this one,” my dad had said when I was twelve. He quickly slipped a harness on a white horse. “Go wait up by the street. Don’t let him eat leaves or weeds.” He dropped the rope in my hand and busied himself harnessing another horse.

I longed for the privilege of going with my dad to the neighbor’s barn to groom and exercise their horses. I hadn’t been allowed to go before. That day was special; I was special too. When he leaned against the frame of my door and nonchalantly mentioned I had been good enough or was old enough to go, I crammed my feet in my shoes and scampered down the street with him.

In the barn he moved confidently, his long arms gracefully reaching for blankets, harnesses, and tightening buckles. He spun on the toes of his boots, stepping over piles of hay and sinking into soft dust. His arms and legs worked like a team, his power matching that of the horses, their partnership formed without language. My dad pressed on a horse’s shoulder; the horse moved. The horse stamped its foot; my dad shook a blanket. He pulled out a burr, held it up to the horse’s eyes, then tossed it in a trash can. From outside the barn I admired the elegant pas de deux; through the afternoon sun, dust floated gently over them like Nutcracker snowflakes.

“Almost there,” my dad said. The muscles in the horses’ backs twitched against flies.

I held the white horse’s lead rope tight under a cottonwood tree to keep the horse from eating. My knuckles were white; the frayed threads dug into my hand. The horse jerked its head toward the leaves.

“Hold that horse away from the leaves!” My dad clipped a lead rope to the other horse’s harness and started out of the barn. “Remember, you’re in control!”

I jerked the horse and saw his eyes blink.

“That’s the way.” My dad leaned forward into his steps, walking up a small hill.

My stomach burned with the shame of failure. I wanted to be special to him, worth the privilege of time with him and the confidence he had in me. His love was something to earn, something given, something I could lose even more easily if I reached for it.

I was no match for the horse’s strength. It nuzzled its nose and mouth against my arm, flared its lips, and bit. I saw the pink tissue inside my arm, then blood filling the wound in my triceps, saw my arm jerk away, as if it was someone else’s arm, as if my body was no longer mine.

My dad stretched his lips wide, flared his nose. “I told you to hold him away from the leaves!”

I waited for tears, but none came.

_____

At the workshop it was time to try putting a harness on a horse, then walk around the corral. I lifted the harness, then stopped.

“Where does this part go?”

“Right here.” The instructor patted a spot behind the horse’s ears.

My breath sped up. I had forgotten or didn’t know how to harness a horse. My only option was to fail, I thought. Not even halfway through the workshop, I faced failing the leaders of the workshop, the horse, myself. I can’t do this.
My water bottle and keys were close. I considered silently walking away. My reasons for registering for the workshop—to reconcile who I tried to be vs who
I was meant to be—felt ridiculous in that moment. It was easier to hate my dad, every part of him, even the parts we had shared. I wanted to wipe him from my DNA, wipe away who I had been before his tenderness had transformed special into shame. To accept myself, I had to accept our shared love for horses, and let myself enjoy a connection with a horse both with and without my dad’s DNA. I had to love the pieces of my dad that were part of me. I had to love myself and learn how to connect.

“It’s OK to bend his ears. It won’t hurt him.” The instructor reached over his head and helped me put the rope harness in the correct spot. I tied a knot by the side of the horse’s face, then patted him.
“Ready to take him for a walk?”

I nodded as if following an order and took a step. Slowly the horse followed me. Inhale. Exhale. I watched my feet, thinking not of where I was going, but of where I had been. The horse pulled me toward by a patch of weeds. Oh no, I thought. I tried to pull him back gently without letting the workshop leaders see; too gently. He chewed.

“Come on,” I begged. “You can have a snack in a little bit.”

I worked hard to breathe, to tell myself that moment didn’t define me. I didn’t believe myself, my breath, anything there. I wanted to shout, stomp, and scream until my throat was raw. I wanted to run into the field past the fence and sit alone in the tall grass. I give up, I thought. I quit. I can’t connect with a person, a horse, anything. I have earned the sting of solitude.
_____

“Keep breathing,” I heard. My breath was shallow and fast. I clenched my eyes tight and rolled my feet in my boots. My feet felt heavy. I tapped my fingers against my thigh and bit my tongue.

I’m here, I thought to the horse. We’re here. Please, tell me who I really am. Please tell me I’m OK.

The rope rested loose in my hand. Step. Inhale. Step, step, step, Exhale. Cisco’s nose flickered, his tail swished. I walked and breathed until I found a rhythm, felt and heard only the sound of my boots and Cisco’s feet. Breathe. Step. Breathe.

“Look,” the instructor whispered. Cisco and I walked in perfect rhythm. Inhale. Step. Exhale. Step. Step. I placed my free hand on the side of Cisco’s neck, expecting to pat an acknowledgement of our connection. He blinked, hung his head low in relaxation, and kept walking. I left my hand on his neck.
The instructor held a dirty thumb up and smiled. I smiled too. Ibachakali.

Cisco and I had connected. I was a part of the underground root system.
I longed to rest my head against Cisco’s neck, to feel his breath and mine together, to feel his hair on my cheek. I wanted to be close in a way that allowed me to let sadness and anger out, let tears run down his hair and fall into dots in the dirt. I wanted to say thank you in a way he’d understand, in a way that reached past words. There was no need to explain what I felt, what I had known, who I knew I was. All I needed to do was breathe.

Shawna Ervin’s nonfiction essay “Connected” was published in Volume 8 of The Delmarva Review and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Ms. Erwin is a member of Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, Colorado. She is writing a memoir about adopting her kids and what it means to belong to a family. Recent publications include poetry in Forge, and prose in The Diverse Arts Project and Sliver of Stone.

The Delmarva Review, Vol. 8, contains original prose and poetry by 35 authors, including regional writers. The literary journal is published by the Eastern Shore Writers Association with additional support from the Talbot County Arts Council and private contributions. Volume 9 will be published in November. For more information, see the website: www.delmarvareview.com.

Managing Chronic Pain is Focus of Free Six-Week Program to be Offered in Easton

barbara jarrell

Barbara V. Jarrell

More Americans suffer from chronic pain than from diabetes, stroke, coronary disease and cancer combined, according to the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine. The suffering takes many forms, as more than 70 percent of those reporting chronic pain indicate that depression, poor concentration and/or low energy are among the effects.

Traditionally, the medical approach to pain has been to identify and treat the cause. However, reports from the Institute of Medicine show that chronic pain can outlast the illness or injury that caused it, altering the nervous system so that pain – persistent and amplified — becomes its own disease.

On a more encouraging note, research also has shown that individuals dealing with chronic pain can benefit from strategies to help manage it. One of the more successful programs in this regard, the Chronic Pain Self-Management Program (CPSMP), will be offered locally, Wednesdays, July 13 – August 17, 5:30-8p.m. at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health’s Center for Integrative Medicine in Easton.

This six-week interactive program, taught by Barbara V. Jarrell, coordinator for the Mid-Shore Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, is offered free of charge with the optional purchase of a workbook for $20. Past participants in this course have cited rheumatoid arthritis, work-related and other injuries, car accidents and various chronic diseases as the precipitating causes of their pain.

Research conducted by clinics where CPSMP has been provided have shown that overall, patients who have completed the program report less pain and dependence on others, more vitality, higher activity levels, improved mental health and greater overall satisfaction than those who have not taken the program.

The Center for Integrative Medicine is located at 522 Cynwood Lane, Suite #300 in Easton. Advance registration for the CPSMP is required due to limited class size. For information about the course, including registration, contact Barbara V. Jarrell, 410-310-2331.

MRC Installs Rain Garden at Waugh Chapel UMC

waughchapel3On Saturday, June 18, more than 20 volunteers gathered at Waugh Chapel United Methodist Church in Cambridge to install a 200-square-foot rain garden. The Waugh Chapel rain garden will divert rainwater running off a portion of the church’s roof. Volunteers planted 173 plants, including blueberry bushes, black-eyed Susans, and 13 other native species.

A rain garden contains native plants as part of an attractive landscape element installed in a slight depression in the ground. The garden collects and filters rainwater from impervious surfaces like roofs, driveways, walkways, and parking lots, absorbing it into the ground and preventing it from running into streets or storm drains. Rain gardens reduce runoff, which improves water quality in nearby waterways by reducing erosion, water pollution, flooding, and diminished groundwater.

The Waugh Chapel project was funded by Chesapeake Bay Trust and Royal Bank of Canada. Other project partners included Wye Gardens, Kelly’s Excavating, Environmental Concern, the Cambridge Community Garden, and Waugh Chapel.

MidshoreRiverkeeper Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the restoration, protection, and celebration of the waterways that comprise the Choptank River, Eastern Bay, Miles River, and Wye River watersheds.

For those who would like to get involved in another project in the Cambridge community, there will be a planting at St. Luke United Methodist Church on Monday, July 18 beginning at 8:30am. For more information or to volunteer, please contact MRC’s Elizabeth Brown at 443.385.0511 or elizabeth@midshoreriverkeeper.org.

Photo: MRC staff members and volunteers gather around the finished rain garden at Waugh Chapel United Methodist Church in Cambridge. The planting was organized by Elizabeth Brown of MRC (center, in hat and green shirt) and Reverend Emmanuel Johnson of Waugh Chapel (third from the right, in yellow shirt).

Paddle with the President July 13 at CBMM

CBMM_PaddlewithPresidentJuly16.jpg

Join Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum President Kristen Greenaway, shown here with her Greenland paddle, as she leads an evening paddle on the Miles River and demonstrates using a Greenland paddle on Wednesday, July 13.

On Wednesday, July 13 from 5:00-7:30 p.m., join Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum President Kristen Greenaway for an evening paddle on the Miles River and a demonstration of using a Greenland paddle.

Born and raised in New Zealand, Greenaway spent part of her youth with her parents and two siblings living aboard a 32-foot wooden yacht her father built. Her passion for all things maritime has continued throughout her life, with Greenaway a frequent participant in the annual WaterTribe Everglades Challenge, which is a 300 mile, day/night small craft event from Tampa to the Florida Keys.

Noted to reduce stress on hands, elbows, and shoulders without sacrificing control and power, the Greenland paddle is remarkable for its narrower and longer blade. Based on a thousand-year-old Intuit design, the paddle measures about the width of the kayaker’s shoulders, with a blade that is less than four inches wide that tapers to a shaft or “loom.”

The cost for paddlers bringing their own kayak and gear is $25 for CBMM members and $35 for non-members, with kayaks dropped in on CBMM’s Fogg’s Cove. Participants can also rent a kayak and gear from CBMM at $50 for CBMM members and $65 for non-members, with equipment limited on a first-come first served basis.

Participation is limited, with advanced registrations made by contacting Allison Speight at aspeight@cbmm.org or 410-745-4941. The rain date for the paddle is Saturday, July 16 from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Chautauqua Summer Series Returns to St. Michaels July 11-13

On the evenings of July 11-13, the 22nd annual Chautauqua Summer Series brings three live performances to the waterfront campus of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. This year’s Maryland Humanities’ series features Pulitzer Prize winners Duke Ellington, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Ernest Hemingway, with all living history performances taking place from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. along the Miles River, and offered free and open to the public.

Maryland Humanities’ 22nd annual Chautauqua Summer Series, Masters of their Craft, is coming to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md. on July 11, 12, & 13. This year's theme features living history performances of Pulitzer Prize winners Duke Ellington, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Ernest Hemingway, as illustrated by Tom Chalkley here.

Maryland Humanities’ 22nd annual Chautauqua Summer Series, Masters of their Craft, is coming to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md. on July 11, 12, & 13. This year’s theme features living history performances of Pulitzer Prize winners Duke Ellington, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Ernest Hemingway, as illustrated by Tom Chalkley here.

The 2016 Chautauqua Summer Series at CBMM is generously sponsored by Easton Eye Care and Karen and Langley Shook, and is funded in part by a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council, with revenues provided by the Maryland State Arts Council, Talbot County, and the Towns of Easton, Oxford and St Michaels.

“Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it, and above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.” With these words, American publisher Joseph Pulitzer articulated a set of standards that inspire journalists, writers, artists, and musicians in their creative endeavors.

This year’s Masters of their Craft theme commemorates the centennial of the Pulitzer Prizes by featuring three Pulitzer winners on the Chautauqua stage. On Monday, July 11, Baltimore vocalist, pianist, and actor Tevin Brown will portray Duke Ellington, the incomparable showman, and one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century with a career that spanned over fifty years. On Tuesday, July 12, educator and actress Dorothy Mains Prince will portray Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize capturing the black experience in America through her poetry. On Wednesday, July 13, the series wraps up in St. Michaels with Hemingway on Stage author and actor Brian Gordon Sinclair portraying Ernest Hemingway, one of the greatest American literary figures of the twentieth century whose work continues to influence modern literature with his trademark style of simple yet perceptive prose.

A Chautauqua performance is a historical dramatization featuring individuals who are part scholar and part actor. Each performance is broken into three acts, where the performer represents a historical figure in the first person, then invites audience questions; and in the final act, steps out of character to answer questions that the historical figure could not have been able to answer.

“Chautauqua” was the name for the Chautauqua Lake area in upstate New York, where the movement began in 1874 as a Methodist summer retreat. A wide range of religious lectures and educational programs attracted a huge following. As it evolved, the Chautauqua movement presented the latest in thinking in politics, economics, literature, science, and religion. Maryland Humanities launched the modern Chautauqua program in Maryland in 1995.

The Chautauqua Summer Series at CBMM is free and open to the public, with guests encouraged to bring chairs and blankets for seating. All performances are held on the lawn of Fogg’s Landing, near the museum’s Steamboat Building. In the event of rain, performances will be held in the Van Lennep Auditorium, with space limited. No registration is required.

For more information, visit www.cbmm.org or call 410-745-2916. Additional information about the Chautauqua Summer Series can be found at www.mdhumanities.org.

Out and About (Sort of): Hamilton Story is Telling Today by Howard Freedlander

Beware, the lead this week is buried more than halfway into this column. Just bear with me.

About six weeks ago I attended graduation (“commencement” in academia) at the University of Pennsylvania. The speaker was the Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator, composer and star of the much acclaimed Broadway musical, “Hamilton. An American Musical.” Typically, I am rather dubious, if not scornful, of pop culture celebrities who are the headline speakers at a college graduation.

Just as typically, I am pleasantly surprised to discover they have much to say and say it well. Not too many years ago, I listened, reluctantly at first to Bono, Irish singer-songwriter, and found, much to my surprise, he was articulate, knowledgeable and passionate about poverty in Africa.

I guess I should be more open-minded and expect the best.

Now back to Lin-Manuel, who I understand who is stepping down in early July from his lead role in a musical where tickets now cost in the four figures. Instead of the usual sermon—dream big, seek your passion, overcome disappointment and be persistent—Lin-Manuel took another tack and told two stories.

For sake of space, I will refer to only one of Lin-Manuel’s stories. He and a friend, also an aspiring Broadway director, sought advice from a “big deal theater producer.” What they heard they rejected: inject sex and drugs in the story line. That would give them a chance to achieve real success, so they were told. They declined with no hesitation. Instead they worked five more years in collaboration with others on what became a successful Broadway musical, “In the Heights.”

Moral of this story: stick with your instincts and values, make adjustments you are comfortable making—and keep working.

As a pointed aside during his remarks, Lin-Manuel said that Alexander Hamilton, an impoverished orphan from the West Indies, “built our financial system. A story that reminds us that since the beginning of the great unfinished symphony that is our American experiment, time and time again, immigrants get the job done.”

My column now takes a different tack.

The anti-immigrant sentiment fed and fueled by Donald Trump causes me great concern. And so does the nationalistic undercurrent that propelled British voters to vote 52 to 48 percent in favor of leaving the European Union. The bias ignited by the presumptive Republican nominee toward immigrants bodes poorly for sustainment of the values of decency and acceptance that have always characterized our diverse nation.

An American economy that has left many struggling to just get by, bitter because of stagnant wages or no wages at all, provides a potent source of anger and bigotry. Hope is a remote, maligned concept. This state of unfortunate and perhaps unfair current affairs in our country worsens when prodded and stirred by irresponsible bombast.

Harkening back to Lin-Manuel, I suggest that one story, a national and cultural one, should never stop being told:

“Immigrants get the job done.”

We all have stories. Some we choose to tell, some we don’t. We define ourselves by our stories. Alexander Hamilton is one of many, many success stories.

I have a story. I think every day about my grandfather, who immigrated in the early 1900s from Austria through Ellis Island in the New York harbor to Lower Manhattan and eventually Pittsburgh, PA. He sought and achieved the American dream. He worked hard, able to use his natural talents. His portrait and my memories about this remarkable East European are an intrinsic part of my being. Others have similar stories.

Lin-Manuel’s incredibly successful musical about a controversial Founding Father brings us back to the foundation of our often discordant, messy American Experiment. It reminds us of our shared values and beliefs.

As we face an acrimonious Presidential campaign, I suggest we try, despite the noisy, emotional political combat, to treasure what immigrants have contributed to our country.

And still do.

Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia.

Community Foundation Awards Grants

Grants Breakfast

Grants Breakfast

The Mid-Shore Community Foundation has announced the results of its recent grant cycle, in which the Foundation awarded $435,098 to local nonprofit organizations.

On Friday, June 10, 2016, representatives from the 42 recipient organizations, along with the Foundation’s Directors, gathered for breakfast at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, Maryland.

Moorhead Vermilye, Chairman of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, welcomed guests and presented the grant awards to the following organizations.

Bridges at Worthmore, Brown Box Theatre Project,  Cambridge South Dorchester High School, Caroline County Public Library, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Chesapeake College Foundation, Chesapeake Music, Chestertown RiverArts, Church Hill Theatre, Compass Regional Hospice, Dorchester Center for the Arts, Easton Choral Arts Society, Echo Hill Outdoor School, Freedom Rowers, Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s, IRONClub of Maryland, Kent Association of Riding Therapy, Kent Massive, Mid-Shore Early Learning Center, Midshore Riverkeepers, National Music Festival, Pickering Creek, Really Great Cats Rescue, Saint Martin’s Ministries, Shore Leadership, St. Michaels Community Center, STOP Bullying Talbot, Talbot Historical Society, Talbot Mentors, Talisman Therapeutic Riding, Aspen Institute, Gilbert Byron Society, Gunston School, Humane Society of Kent County, UM Shore Regional Health, United Charitable Programs, Upper Shore Aging, Washington College, Waugh Chapel United Methodist Church, Wye River Upper School and YMCA of the Chesapeake.

Following the grants presentation, Dick Van Gelder, organizational consultant and motivational speaker, addressed the group with an interesting and entertaining presentation about awareness and change.

The Mid-Shore Community Foundation makes numerous charitable distributions each year.  Grants are recommended by fund advisors and are awarded through the Foundation’s committee structure.  Grants are made for a wide range of worthy projects and causes.  In FY 2016, the Foundation provided, $3 million in grants to organizations in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties.

The Mid-Shore Community Foundation is now seeking grant applications from eligible non-profit organizations for its Fall 2016 grant cycle with the deadline for submission is October 1, 2016.  Grant applications can be downloaded and submitted online at www.mscf.org.

The Naval Academy Invades the Easton Airport

For a few months during the summer a minor invasion takes place at the Easton Airport. Without much notice, almost 250 midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy come across the Bay Bridge every day to participate in a highly selective flight training program.

With the help of dozens of flight instructors, a fleet of seventeen planes, and the full support of the Easton Airport staff and control tower, the USNA offers its students one of the most comprehensive and intensive flight training programs of its kind in the country.

And heading up this remarkable program is John Galdieri, president of Trident Aircraft. An alum himself of the Naval Academy, Galdieri felt that Easton Airport offered the location, facilities, and staff needed to gain the support of USNA in bringing their flight school to the Eastern Shore. And as a result, Easton has become the home for students getting their first experience with flying.

In our Spy interview, we talk to John about the program as well as listen to three midshipmen talk about their experience as they begin their long and challenging road to becoming apart of the Navy’s aviation program after graduation.

This video is seven minutes in length.