ABSECON on the Bass River
After landfall in Atlantic City,
the snow hurricane of 1804,
an extra-tropical upreach
through the clouds
unleashed torrents of what turned
to frozen rain, that went to powder,
and became a violent whiteout.
Frozen crystal drifts called firn
turned into hard pack, firm enough
to walk on – it smothered the countryside
culling deer , timber wolves, cattle, sheep,
steeples and chimneys blown apart
by force of wind, barns leveled,
ships splintered onto the beach.
Stillness haunted the sands and marshes
along what was left of wilderness,
on the narrow barrier island called Absecon,
surrounded by the Bass River.
Years later, two self-described hermits,
Jerremiah Leeds and Johathan Pitney discovered
what beauty the snow’s violence had fashioned.
They sold the solitude, for four cents an acre,
and the landscape was reshaped once again.
This is the same as our story – landscapes deprecated,
rivers sent off course, because with any change
the story of all else changes too,
after which, nothing is the same.
Jean Cassidy May 18, 2018