If you have been following my Girl Versus Island series this summer, you know that I am
incredibly fucking stupid working on a novel this summer and rented a cottage on Tilghman Island, Maryland. You may also know, if you stalk follow me on Twitter and Facebook, that sea glass hunting is my hobby. Each day at low tide, to take a break from working, I go out to look for sea glass, even though it has already proven itself as harmful to my vagina health.
In other news, you should never pick up hitchhikers. I picked up a waterman hitchhiker because it is like 20 miles from our island to civilization and cell phone signals, and I felt badly that he was walking. In exchange for the ride, I figured an island
dentally challenged lifer could tell me where good sea glass spots are. He gave me directions to a beach which were sort of like “past the church and down the road and then through the field to the left.”
I thought I could follow them. I found the road, but when I saw an abandoned farmhouse lane next to it, I figured I could take a shortcut. The island is two miles wide and the only road through it is about in the middle. One mile of cornfield does not seem like a far way until you are lost in it, Children of the Corn style. I thought the old farm lane must lead down to the water, but the lane ended in a cornfield and ultimately at a treeline. I stayed along the edge of the corn, made it through the woods, and then hit a solid wall of green. Another cornfield? Shit, I thought, the property must’ve been divided. The edge of this cornfield though hadn’t been bush hogged (cut, like mowed, and omg I just used a farming term, I’m totally turning into an island redneck.)
So I ended up surrounded by tall grass, which I tried to get through, but at one point I couldn’t move in any direction of woods/corn/grass 8 feet high. Then I heard a velociraptor, and I started to get really concerned, so I tried sending a text message to a neighbor (for tips on where to retrieve my corpse).
Island lesson: you can’t send text messages when you are lost in the middle of several hundred acres of cornfield.
The velociraptor turned out to be a baby deer. I mean, this thing was as loud as a dinosaur while hopping through corn, but when he ended up about four feet in front of me, I actually thought he was a fox at first. He was no bigger than a German shepherd, and completely unafraid of me. I prayed his mom hadn’t been shot yet by the hunter and that his big-rack dad wasn’t watching and ready to impale me.
The fawn actually looked at me, tilted his head sideways (then made a sound that seemed like he might’ve been laughing at the fact that I just tried to send a text message) and turned around, hopping once in the opposite direction. He turned back around and looked at me as if to follow him, which I did, and dammit if he didn’t take me to a path that got me out of the woods/corn/killer grass. After deciding I could survive on the corn and tasting it and discovering it was feed corn that essentially tastes like corn ass, I walked another quarter mile through poison ivy, pricker bushes, ticks and chiggers until I finally got to the Chesapeake Bay (or more accurately, the Choptank River).
There was no beach and definitely no sign of sea glass. Perhaps in the waterman’s memory this was once a beach filled with arrowheads and sea glass but right now it was six brand new houses. The subdivision sent one of its kind to greet the cornfield She Who Walks The Rows apparition covered in bloody scratches and sweat and holding a cell phone.
“Are you lost?” said the human.
“Why yes,” said I. “I came through a mile of cornfield, but there is no sea glass here.”
“No,” said the human. “So you should get your bat shit crazy Stephen King novel corn-covered ass back to whatever corn village or mental institution you came from.”
From now on, I will return to my faithful sea glass beach, where I find tons of purple and blue and yellow and red and amazing historic pottery shards, and I will search no longer for a better beach than that.
And the only corn I will encounter from now on will be corn grown for humans that I buy from the farmer at his produce stand.