Ocean City is actually a barrier island. An ephemeral sand mound that forms in front of mainlands, and shifts in and out of existence within a few centuries -- the blink of a geological eye. But, as at many barrier islands, Ocean City's charms quickly drew settlers, investments, and infrastructure. And they now want to stay put.
Cue the eternal fight between nature and man, with the boardwalk and beach as the front line. This town is no stranger to nature's wrath.
|1962 Ash Wednesday storm|
|1991 October "Perfect Storm"|
|Taken by the author, May 1, 2012|
|Remarkable NOAA Website on sea-level trends:|
Which makes Ocean City just one of thousands of such spots around the world here in the 21st Century.
The archaeologist in me has seen this before. This is Ostia, for centuries imperial Rome's proud port town:
And it's not just oceans and seas that change with time. Here's Hadrian's Wall in Cumbria, northern England, running east to west (top to bottom), approaching what was once the eastern abutment to the Roman bridge over the River Irthing (bottom of picture).
Bridges. Cities. Monuments to man's ingenuity. Laid to waste.
So what does all this have to do with the Flotsam Diaries? Everything. Today we build condos & business districts at the edge of shifting sands. We build whole cities in flood plains. We fill them with plastic. And then we're shocked when Mother Nature does what Mother Nature does.
|New Orleans, 9th Ward, post-Hurricane Katrina 2005|
So maybe we could make better choices?