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Editorial: Broken rhythms

A look at our old newspapers, and excerpts printed in the column of "Glimpses Into the Past," reveal an activity that was common then, but probably puzzling to newer residents today.

Excited reports were made each year: Capt. Brown had caught 50 shad and 600 herring; Capt. Armistead and his boys brought a large load to the dock; the fishermen of Severn were getting their nets out.

Spring fishing was a ritual, a rhythm of the advancing year. It brought fresh fish to the table, and more importantly, cash to households that got through the winter on credit and "egg money" at the community store.

Those days are gone. It’s illegal now to take shad during the spring shad run. Along with mostly closed oyster beds, closed winter crab dredging, and a host of limitations on other species, the shad ban is a symptom of two things. The first: the continuing sad state of the fountainhead of local heritage, the Chesapeake Bay. The second: the broken rhythms of our on...

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