The Eastern Shore of Virginia is particularly desolate in late fall and winter. On our drive back to Virginia from Connecticut yesterday, the fields were devoid of vegetation, leaving a dry, dusty landscape with a heavy ceiling of grey clouds.
Even in its bleakness, the Eastern Shore has a beauty all its own.
Every time we drive through the Eastern Shore, my husband and I wonder why people would choose to live in such isolation. There are no cities there, no shopping, upscale restaurants, theaters, or universities. The only industry we’ve seen there are the chicken farms of Mr. Purdue and Mr. Tyson. The workers are largely Hispanic, and along Route 13 several iglesias and tiendas can be seen as well as a couple of taquerias. What other things people find to occupy their time remain a mystery. It is not a place you would casually go to for the day to explore because there isn’t anything to see and it would cost you $12 for a trip across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel each way, unless you came back the same day and got a discount on the return trip. My husband said once that the Eastern Shore of Virginia is a place to go if you don’t want to be found. I replied, “That explains why people live here. They must be in the witness protection program.”
In spite of the lowliness of so many of the houses, I noticed on our drive back on Sunday that nearly every abode, whether it was a farmhouse or a shack, had some sort of Christmas decoration on it. The most common were wreaths. I even saw a tractor with a wreath on it. I wanted to stop and take pictures, but every time I saw a little place with a Christmas decoration on the door, we were already past it. “You want me to turn around?” my husband would ask. But I knew he was anxious to get home, so we kept on going. He did turn down a side road so I could get a few pictures of the landscape, and I managed to take a picture of some Christmas swags by the entrance to a farm.
I thought of how I used to love putting up a tree when the kids were little and decorating the house in preparation for hosting 25 people for Christmas dinner. Now that the children live far away and nobody comes to see the house decorated anymore, the decorations have dwindled down to nothing. As we continued down the road, I remarked at how everyone, regardless of their circumstances, took the time to show their holiday spirit and it made me feel all the more Christmasy. “But not enough to decorate our house, huh?” my husband asked. “You know my new motto,” I replied. “If you don’t put it up, you don’t have to take it down.”