The Weather

Tidewater

“Wishing we had vices strong enough to relieve the pressure a little.”

A.C., that’s a good way of putting it. Do you ever fantasize about becoming a drug addict? I absolutely do. I envy the people who can let themselves go. I envy the people who can give themselves up, turn themselves over, and become something outside themselves. I envy the people who can do away with their neuroses, even if, well, defeating neuroses by way of drug addiction has some unpretty drawbacks.

A.C., it was really great to see you the other night, back in Virginia. Or… I guess “back in Virginia” isn’t exactly the way to put it. We residents of Zoe House—Will, Roger, Evan, and I—are still in Virginia, but this Virginia, here in Chincoteague, is quite a bit different than yours.

Roger, who grew up coming here every summer, tells us that this region, Virginia’s shore, is called “the tidewater.” What is the tidewater? From what I’ve been able to glean, it’s flat marshes with grasses and stands of wet-rooted trees. Roger thinks this place looks like the Serengeti but with water. I think it looks like… I guess actually I’ll go with Roger’s assessment: a watery Serengeti. I’ve never been to the Serengeti, and I don’t remember a specific photo of the place, but taking in this tidewater did bring to mind the amalgamation of hundreds of color photos I saw, likely as a child, of probably many places, but, most notably, I’m deciding now, of, yes, the Serengeti.

You know what else it looks like though? A place where a bunch of settlers would get off a boat and find it difficult to survive on account of the saturated soil and the mosquitos.

What’s the technical definition tidewater? That, I don’t know. I was about to try to guess, but all I could think of is “place-where-the-tide-goes-up-and-down.” But that’s probably not all the way right…

Hope all’s well back in Virginia… Or, back in the rest of Virginia, the state of the rolling, verdant green… We’ll be here for another two weeks. Topics to cover include: Using the Internet at the Comfort Suites; The Key to Quality Bowling by Evan; and The Sound of Fellow Writers Clacking and the Comforts and/or Anxieties Derived Therefrom.

Tom Dibblee is Trop’s editor. His fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train and his nonfiction has appeared in Pacific Standard, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Point. He lives in Los Angeles.