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Saturday, October 1, 2022

Hidden family history treasures in the attic

Cleaning out old boxes in my attic recently allowed me time to reflect on my life as I sorted old photos and documents attempting to distill them down to the most meaningful.  I digitized family history items for genealogy research and passed them on to descendants, sent VHS tapes out for transfer to create easy-to-use viewing files, and found my old writing from college.  In 1975 I was just finding myself and was asked to reflect on a significant place.  As I spend so much time getting to know ancestors from the past, it was meaningful to also connect with my young self. The sentiments I wrote all those years ago are still important to my mature self and were a gift...

In all my travels from Florida to Maine and west to Seattle, my very favorite place is a small wooden pier at our ancestral property in Maryland. At the end of the narrow, grey, warped dock are two ladders for climbing in and out of boats and I curl up around the extending posts, dangling my feet which just miss the crests of passing waves. 

I love to sit there all alone and think or cry or sing but mostly pray. It's easy to become close to God there because His beautiful works envelop me. If I don't look back to land it feels like I'm completely surrounded by water. Boats go by that pier all day in the summer to get from the secure marinas on the creek into the Chesapeake. I especially loved the sailboats with colored sails that whipped wildly as the boats rounded the stone jetty and headed for deep water. Whitecaps would crash into the rocks shooting spray and seaweed. The opposite shore looks like a Mediterranean dream, with narrow winding streets climbing up a hill and close-set white houses hugging the land. 

The pier runs parallel to a long stone jetty that separates the mouth of our wide creek from the white-capped swells of the Chesapeake Bay. At sunset, the blues, golds, and pinks of the sky reflect on the rolling water and lights appear from boats and houses that twinkle like stars. I could sit on those old rotting boards forever, but mosquitos or a chilling wind, or a voice from the house calls me back to land and away from my special place.  

Teachers over the years would ask for essays about a favorite place and I always wrote about the peace of sitting on that pier feeling close to nature, watching the sunsets, and praying. Many times, I have gone back to visit and never leave without a walk to the pier which is where I established a relationship with God and go back to reconnect.

View from my Pier at Cedar Point on the Chesapeake Bay