A Celebration of Life on Smith and Tangier Islands that carries special meaning during this time of COVID.
It started out as a simple book review requested by The Talbot Spy, but it turned into something life altering once I began talking to Jay Fleming about his new book, Island Life. Published in November, his brilliant photographic essay is a treasure that everyone on the Bay should keep within easy reach, but its value is much more than its beautiful imagery.
History will look back on America's struggle with COVID-19 as an inflection point for our nation. Whatever that was before March of 2019 has been fundamentally altered such that people are now in constant search of a more protected and secure way of life. Jay's depiction of how lives are lived in the remote Smith and Tangier Islands, places so far from where most of us reside, is an exposition on how peace can be found in the midst of constant struggle with forces beyond anyone's control. Please read my review of Island Life for more on this point.
In an unfortunate twist of fate, the person pictured on the cover of Island Life, Dwight Marshall of Smith Island, had a heart attack in the skiff shown on the book's cover while crabbing in the same spot pictured on the cover the day I finished the article and sent it off to The Spy. Jay's book is a celebration of life on those two unique islands in the lower Chesapeake, but it is also a celebration of the wonder of Dwight Marshall's 76 years on Smith, a man who was blessed to be able to pass doing what he loved to do in the place he loved doing it. An obituary describing his life there and what a special person he was can be read here.
Island Life by Jay Fleming can be purchased here.