The salt marsh in Broad Channel weathered the storm. The lights are still out in the Rockaways and Howard Beach, and the town of Broad Channel has been devastated to the point where a fishing vessel presently makes it home in the middle of a traffic island. The first impression is that it's some new gimmick, a come on for a fish place, but then the mind begins to assimilate the debris that line the curbs and sidewalks in front of the darkened storefronts and houses, many of which may never be habitable again. A once-thriving community has been turned into a ghost town, and yet amidst it all the marsh nestled in its own little inlet in Jamaica Bay is imperturbable, a complex organism with a built-in staying power. The beauty of the marsh is almost taunting amidst the scene of wholesale destruction in which a few weary survivors stanch themselves up against another storm, an imminent nor'easter. Nietzsche once said that "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger." In the dusk the marsh is almost defiant. Its shrubs and weeds, its little plot of mud and sand have little to defend and hence are harder to defeat. The sirens are still howling in the distance, but along the spit of land, the mood is curiously serene. The marsh is like a Buddhist monk, his body perfectly calm, as the river of thought passes him by.
This was originally posted to "The Screaming Pope," Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.