Painter and writer Svenson and his wife moved to what had once been a huge amusement park on a 40-bluff coastal bluff ten miles across the water from Baltimore. Combining personal and historical elements, he writes about such matters as the demise of the bay's ecology, crewing tugboats on it, and the amusement park. No index and few bibliographical references. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Peter Svenson's house is perched high on a bluff, and its front windows survey the shipping lanes and western shore. It is from this perfect vantage point that Svenson scans sea, sky, land, and tidal zone, with a keen eye for the patterns of the human and the natural landscape.Traffic on and around the bay is constant, and captivating. The ships lure Svenson to hitch a ride on a Coast Guard cutter that deploys the nearby buoys, and then to sign on as a temporary crew member of a tugboat that pushes and pulls cargo barges up and down the long bay. On board these working vessels, he gains a new appreciation for the missions and mechanisms of the craft he has come to recognize from a distance. In other chapters, he conducts close-up examinations of the vagaries of the coastal ecosystem, the bayside community in which he lives, the history of a defunct local amusement park, the flotsam that washes up on his beach, the arcane art of canoe sailing, the difficult business of garage building, and the exigencies of landscape painting, concluding with an epitaph on the eroding ecology of the Chesapeake as pollution and overuse threaten its equilibrium.