A hidden Shore treasure

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July 30, 2006|By GLENN FAWCETT | GLENN FAWCETT,SUN STAFF

Driving across the flat farmlands of the Eastern Shore can seem boring, if not completely frustrating, on a busy summer day.

Perhaps it is the price we feel we must pay to reach "more scenic" destinations such as Ocean City.

But as the cornfields zoom by and the tires rumble over the hot highway asphalt, natural treasures are passed hardly noticed in the swamps and wetlands that hide beyond the trees and farms.

The Pocomoke River, only a short diversion from the course to the sea, is such a treasure.

Last week I was assigned to accompany reporter Tom Pelton and naturalist Joe Fehrer, explore five miles of the Pocomoke River by canoe and photograph the river and the wildlife that call it home. By canoe, we were able to quietly venture along the river and into the swampy shallows of its banks with little disruption to the wildlife in its natural habitat.

Drifting along the dark water, I was able to lower my camera within inches of the nearly black surface to take pictures of the water lilies with a wide lens to capture them up close and still see the trees along the shoreline giving context to their existence.

This small grouping of lilies, standing somewhat alone from the more populated groupings near the banks, seemed to gracefully symbolize to me the delicate balance of life on the Pocomoke.

Teeming with many forms of life, such as deer, monarch butterflies, fish, cypress trees and lily pads, it's hard to imagine the ultimate effect sudden change to the surrounding farmlands, such as the addition of thousands of proposed new homes in nearby Snow Hill, could have on the natural and delicate balance of the river, good or bad.

glenn.fawcett@baltsun.com

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