Renewed by the Bay Shore ~ Remembering a Friend

I haven’t been to the marshes for a couple of years. Not since the loss of our dear friend, David Lord. We shared many delights in books and reading together. He was a gifted naturalist who often took us bird watching in the marshland by the Delaware Bay. He loved the glories of God in Creation housed in the famous Pinelands of Southern New Jersey.

David's quote

Following his lead through nature trails, on the docks overlooking the salt marshes, or searching the skies for a glimpse of osprey, kestrals, or some of our 80+ pair of nesting eagles, were favorite days.

Saturday, June 4th, was open on our calendar this month, and the weather promised perfection. Ed and I made plans to enjoy the annual Bay Days festival in Bivalve, New Jersey. We would be seeing the salt marshes again for the first time since the loss of our friend. 

Of course I thought of him and some of his eloquent words in praise of and passion for this unique part in the eco-system of our world–right here in my own backyard.

The salt marsh eco-system is a vitally important piece of our natural landscape.

It’s a mere 30 minute drive from my back door to enjoy the annual celebration of this habitat home to flora and fauna found only here–with the historic oyster industry the star of the show. 

The Walrus and the Carpenter Lewis Carroll

[Bivalve, New Jersey is important because it is] the only surviving early 20th century speculative industrial development in the Delaware Bay area, and possibly the country, built by a railroad company (The Central Railroad of New Jersey). Prior to 1875, oysters were shipped by boats and a long wharf was built parallel to the river. By the 1880s, there were buildings of varying sizes and shapes and a railroad platform . . . Oystermen and packing companies operated out of here, leasing a two-story office/store front and storeroom, half an alleyway, half a wharf and half a boat slip. Other businesses that supported the oyster industry, such as chandleries, meat markets, post office and lumber yards, helped fuel the region’s growth and development . . . In 1879-80, 69,800 sacks of oysters were shipped in their shell with an average of 10 freight cars a day. By the mid-1920s, 55-60 million oysters or 700,000 sacks of oysters were shipped annually with an average of 80 freight cars a day. 

Read more at the official Bayshore Center website HERE!

Once a year at this popular festival, the historic grounds by the bay become home to a host of tents, vendors, history and science organizations and presenters, and a plethora of interactive and educational family fun for children of all ages.

Bay Days Bivalve 2016

It was no surprise to run into one of my former TaleSpinners who was a regular for the seven years I hosted the weekly Tale Spin Stories at the local mall. Penelope loved storytime and I looked forward to seeing her each week. She and her family live in the area by the bay, so I expected to see them. But, I am never prepared to see how these precious little souls grow so fast! She’s a rising 4th grader now and a lover of literacy and learning.


I was delighted to see our friend, Bill Kerwood, on the program as a strolling entertainer. He’s a dear brother in Christ who shares pure joy, astonishing young and old as an Ambassador of Possiblity and interactive entertainer. His fascinating illusions and clever word play engages and delights. We took a few moments on the docks to catch up on life and family.

Bill Kerwood Ambassador of Possibility

Fresh crabs, scallops, shrimp, and of course, oysters, make for popular food faire in the slips on the water where the oystermen once unloaded their succulent catches for market. Live music accompanies diners there, in addition to the big tent on the grounds. That’s where Ed and I ran into another old friend, local legend Jim Albertson, singer, storyteller, and long time host of Down Jersey folk radio programs.  This is the best I could get out of these two clowns when I asked them to “be serious” for a photo.


Jim clued us into the next main stage musical act, Ameranouche, a gypsy jazz trio on acoustic guitars and stand-up bass. We loved them!


But a short walk from all the hub-bub in the tents, Ed and I found ourselves in the calm silence and solitude of the salt marshes. Purple Martins and Barn Swallows flitted about overhead with happy chirps. This little fellow let me get within three feet of him for a photo–a Barn Swallow huddling in the shade of a weathered barn-wood birdhouse.


The tide was out, fulfilling an important task set by our Creator God . . .

Though these areas can appear calm at times, a violent circle of life is revolving just below the surface. To begin with, the grasses of the salt marsh are very important for certain types of fish. Every time a tide recedes, it brings with it nutrients collected from the grasses. These microscopic meals are then gobbled up by the numerous varieties of filter feeding fish that call the salt marsh home. As soon as those on the bottom of the food chain are satisfied, the bigger fish then feast on them, only to find themselves eaten by those hungry birds that hunt the salt marsh. The circle of life is red in tooth and claw.

David Lord, Salt Marshes and Saints

Where do the “saints” come in? Read more on this at David’s blog.


The scent of the marsh is invigorating as it is heavy. All the life teeming there blends together in what appears to be a holy stillness. In fact, there is much activity bustling between the blades of grasses–some species found nowhere else in the nation. The mud is alive. Metaphors revealing the character of God abound. David had the scientific knowledge of this natural world, which allowed him keener insight to the spiritual principles to be mined there.

By those with ears to hear and eyes to see.

We may have to wait another year for the Bay Days festival, but Ed and I need to make escape days to walk the marshes for the glory and renewing nature of it more often . . . just because.

It is a gift from God.

The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8:8-9 NKJV

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Sharing Renewed by the Bay Shore ~ Remembering a Friend this week with:

Literacy Musing Mondays

Wholehearted Wednesdays

A Little R&R Wednesdays

Sitting Among Friends

Katherine’s Corner

Thought Provoking Thursdays

Faith Filled Fridays

Pink Saturday

Spiritual Sundays

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2016 Kathryn Ross

About Miss Kathy

"I teach families how to restore their God-given authority as the primary educator in their child’s life through the experience of reading together as a family. Learn how to use literature to create teachable moments, build strong minds, and bind loving hearts."

Kathryn Ross, writer, speaker, and dramatist, ignites a love of literature and learning to equip young and old towards developing a Family Literacy Lifestyle—reading together, learning together, loving together. Her works challenge families to deepen their literacy skills and grow into the greater things God has purposed for them. She’s taught in Christian and homeschool circles, trained in the Principle Approach® through the Foundation for American Christian Education. Miss Kathy owns Pageant Wagon Publishing, producing homeschool enrichment materials, devotional works, study guides, and theatrical dramas for church, school, and community production. She podcasts at and blogs at


  1. A deeply moving memorial to David Lord and a fitting tribute to the creation he loved! He would have been greatly blessed. Somehow, as a member of the “great cloud of witnesses,” I think he knows.

    Thanks and Blessings!


    • Thanks, MaryAnn–I have missed Bay Days the last couple of years and knew the smells and sights would trigger the memories of our nature walks and bird watching excursions. Ed and I need to go more often–very refreshing out there.

  2. What a beautiful journey I have taken here today. The photos are really pretty, and the festival sounds like pure delight! But I think I especially liked hearing David’s words. It brought me to a place of contemplation, as nature so often does. It is good to remember that the beauty that surrounds us truly is a gift from God.


    • Thanks for visiting, Sharon. David was a brilliant writer and I hope to be sharing more of his words in the future. Such a gift, gone too soon.

  3. Awe looks like you had a great time. I know you thought about your dear friend as you said. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

    • Cindy–you’d love all the art activities with your grands, too! There’s a landscape watercolor painting activity I always enjoy. Thanks for dropping by!

  4. Thank you for capturing this fun day! The culture of the people who attend this event is amazing. Combine that with the stories, music & food?… What a celebration. What memories!

  5. So sweet. Thanks for sharing all of this. The NJ salt marshes and nearby shore areas are precious in my memory, too. I loved all these little stories, warmed by heart this morning. Thanks! #ThoughtProvokingThursday

    • Joy to you, Bethany! We need to drive to the marshes more often. Sometimes we take the blessings in our own backyard for granted. Putting it on the Gratitude List, for sure! Thanks for dropping by!

  6. Sorry for your loss. Sounds like a great and wise friend. You’ve been so blessed to have known him.
    Thanks for sharing your life experiences here.

  7. Lovely and heartfelt post. I was lucky enough to grown up near marshes, as my family called them. I popped by to say 1, I recommended your book to someone working with troubled ‘tweens. 2. there is a facebook group Ninja Writers, a closed group for writers of all kind but I thought it might be worth checking out. Oh, and here is a link to one of my favorite poems. My grandmother used to recite this. Angels to you Kathy.

    • Hi Susan! Yes, with a blog name like yours I would expect you to be familiar with the delights of salt marshes! Thanks for the tips you’ve passed onto me here. I will need to take some time to check them out when I return from vacation. Stay tuned for too cute pics and touching videos from my time with my new grand-guy and dear son and family over Father’s Day weekend.

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