Cole Meyerhoff | Chesapeake Bay

A crisp and cool Fall morning. A floating dock rocks side to side with each step. Lines creak and stretch. An outboard sputters to life, idling away the chill. Lines are cast off and water begins to lap against the hull in a ceremonious melody. Beams of sunlight pierce through the trees accompanying the glow that has been slowly growing richer and richer. Cold air and skin meet almost brutally as the boat climbs onto a plane; forcing a call upon the warmth in one’s core and reinforcing that we are officially awake.

The sky is clear and men in boats have already been out for hours working the water. Cruising over the shallows, fish dart off in every direction, seeking shelter between the rays of light that shimmer down onto the sand. The beauty of the morning scene is entirely surreal.

But its beauty and splendors are only surpassed by its fragility. There is so much that lies in question. It is apparent that we can be living in harmony with this environment; simultaneously cultivating our lives and the health of this incredible ecosystem. But that is not the case. Instead, we are locked in a battle with ourselves. Fighting tooth and nail to patch and repair these waters and the land from damage that we are inflicting. Time and time again innovators and creative thinkers, in every field; have proven that it is always possible to reinvent, reimagine and rebuild systems and practices. Improving efficiency, decreasing footprint, cultivating ecological health. These are all goals which are attainable while still fostering the economic prosperity that we need to continue ensuring our futures and the future of the environment.

Our practice of reparation is not sustainable. Restoring ecosystems is an avoidable process if we instead farm, fish, work and live in conjunction with the environment around us. It is a decision that is not up to any other group of beings on the planet other than ourselves; yet every society, culture, environment and organism could benefit if we make the choice to live harmoniously with the natural world.

The wind on my face is still cold, the trees are still vibrant, the birds still splash into the water as they land and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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