On one of the most vulnerable islands in America, a longtime caretaker makes peace with climate change.
At the south end of Assateague Island, on a storm-shaped hook called Tom’s Cove, Ishmael Ennis likes to pace the beach. Autumn Sundays are the best time of year, he said, when the dawn chill clears out the crowds. In those solitary moments, the sands seem vast enough to drown any human concerns.
“No, that’s getting too romantic,” he said, suddenly self-conscious. Ennis, 59, grew up near a crabbing town on the Chesapeake Bay. He’s tall, hay-haired, and speaks with a waterman’s drawl. “I don’t feel nothing too special,” he said. “Just sometimes you’ve got to get away from all the normal stuff. The island offers that.”
Not for long, perhaps.