Labor Day gives us an end-of-summer bank holiday weekend, and That Is Good. We were on our bikes just after 7 this morning to catch 2 trains and a ferry, and by 10.30 were in our swimsuits on a golden, sandy beach with dunes to our backs, the Atlantic ahead of us, more gulls and sanderlings than people to our right and left, and with sun and breeze in perfect combination for a Proper Day Out.
Fire Island is a narrow barrier island that lies off Long Island, NY and is a National Park Seashore. For me today it was the perfect contrast to the hype hype hype of New York city (the noise and smells and heat and humidity and noise and smells and busyness and noise and … ) which I guess needed a bit of readjustment to after our super week in Maine, and which I was not relishing yesterday. Not one bit. In fact, I had spent most of the day in bed, feeling drained, grotty, listless. Aching. Sorry for myself, I admit. And went out of the house just to go to the cinema before coming home to bed again.
The ocean so often does it for me, do you know what I mean? Pounding and fresh and glittering and wild. Both welcoming and threatening: I paddle, and poke about at endlessly attractive shells and stones, and I swim, just a bit, buoyed by the salty swell beyond the breaking waves, but only so far out, only so much out of my depth, before I come back to the safe shore to dry off. The sea provokes all sorts of emotions in me, all jumbled and tumbled up together like loose seaweed in the waves: feelings of freedom, belonging, calm, smallness, longing, energy, gladness, rightness … what a Good Place to be, today.
Why the 1000 other visitors all decide to place their umbrellas and chairs and towels and games and supplies and sunscreen-slathered bodies practically in heaps within 100m of the steps is a mystery to me – a most peculiar phenomenon of human behaviour - when there are miles of empty beach a short distance away; but we don’t object to having one of those miles to ourselves!
We talked little, read lots, snoozed for a while, swam, drank from our sun-warmed water bottles and ate the nearly melted chocolate snacks we had brought, read a bit more, swam again; and took the mid-afternoon ferry home again.
Ouch … not enough suncream … but worth it!