Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," seasoned travelers ... if you begin and end with the state of Maryland.
Maryland is a small state in the Mid-Atlantic. For someone on a tight budget, it's just the bees' knees.
Maryland starts at the beach. You have a choice of a standard boardwalk-style beach town, or you can go to wild Assateague, with its famed horses.
Moving west from the beach you pass through all kinds of ecosystems, from tidal rivers with Southern flora and fauna, to the Chesapeake Bay, to the rolling Piedmont, on to the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. You've got your history (Fort McHenry, Antietam Battlefield, Braddock Heights, Harper's Ferry), and your big city (Baltimore). Voila! Something for everyone!
Through my whole life I have preferred the mountains, and I've always hatched plans to move back there some day. But as I grow older, remembering the harsh winters and steep terrain, I've begun to shy away from the dream of a mountain home.
Enter the "Slower Lower."
The "Slower Lower" is extreme southeastern Maryland. A river runs through it. The river is called The Pocomoke. That's Native American for "black water."
Mr. J and I took a little jaunt to the Slower Lower this past weekend for a family wedding. I hadn't laid eyes on the Pocomoke River in 30 years. I had forgotten how swell it is. It looks so black because of the tannin in the water, and it's deep. As my little photograph illustrates, in the general vicinity of the sleepy little hamlet of Snow Hill, the Pocomoke is as quiet and serene as a sleeping tot.
This part of Maryland is so hell-and-gone from everywhere that it's never going to be fertile ground for meaningless McMansions. It's flat as a pancake and only about ten miles inland from the coast.
I didn't really hear the voices of the bored gods when I went there over the weekend. It was more like the dawning reality of aging that spoke to me. The Slower Lower has a mild climate, flat terrain, affordable housing, and a wild beach within a short hop and skip. The pace of life is so slow that the local snails die of boredom.
Mr. J and I both liked the Slower Lower. Can't say he likes the mountains like I do. He's devoted to the Chesapeake Bay. (Little does he know that the Slower Lower is 100 miles from the mighty Chesapeake!)
Maybe I am destined to end my life a flat-lander. I'll put it in the hands of the bored gods and let them call the shots. If they fling me into the Slower Lower, I'll be happy enough.