What the Acres are Made of
Michael Ubaldi, May 14, 2007.
The evening of my arrival in the Hampton Roads locale was spent at the ancestral home of the event's host. The group was led in and through the house, to a wooden deck out back. A pair of copses were bookends to a bank of water, turquoise at dusk, whose proper name was of some very exacting concern.
"Every time you say 'swamp,'" chuckled our host, "my father's property drops by a hundred dollars." He preferred "wetlands," although my indirect professional experience with that word has been one of regulatory estoppel caused by the sighting of rare and spotted animals. Marsh? Too rough, whatever charm one finds searching for bullfrogs among the cattails. Lagoon? Not after its association with unneighborly webbed creatures that might emerge from beneath. Bayou is a smooth word for sales, if only it didn't invite corrections on finer points of geography and limnology. Whatever the landscape means to science, it was quite a view.
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