The following post was first published in 2014. As I am still in summer daydream mode, but no where near an ocean, those two weeks on Fire Island seems like heaven to me, flashing up in dusty memory…
Two weeks living on the ocean’s edge, the only constants in my day was the sound of pounding surf and sand on my feet, a morning swim and bike ride to get milk or meet the ferry as more family arrived, filling the wagon with luggage and boxes of food, a walk along the shore, beach volleyball, afternoons riding the waves, beach yoga, shucking corn, beach dance music, eating peaches, beach runs, ice cream, laughing, moonlit swims, and letting the clock hands fade for a brief time-less span. Our only agenda, unwind and restore.
Fire Island is a narrow outer barrier island off Long Island, New York, about 30 miles long. You arrive via a passenger-only ferry and once there live in a car-less world. For me, and my LA kiddos, for all of us really, this departure from highways and traffic is paradise. The whole maze of island towns are connected by walkways which run either down the center or cross from the bay to the ocean. We learned to stroll like natives during our short stay.
We also learned to bike on the right. To navigate on two wheels the wooden boardwalks of Saltaire and beyond. To watch out for the crossing deer who populate the island. To visit relatives or cruise for ice cream or shop for dinner via a bike. To ride slow enough to notice the birds in the jungle of brush.
Beach gifts were plenty as was the space to be with each other. A whole world set up for gathering with family. A population on vacation. Stopping at intervals long enough to enjoy the visual beauty. To dig into a point. To remember an anecdote. To relish in the sea breeze and smell the salt. To hear a seagull.
Our family gatherings seldom have everyone in attendance, but this one came close. Travel by airplane and car, train and ferry, regardless of means we united at the same place for a blink in the sunshine. A collection of strong individuals all bending to fit together under one roof, to share one table, to co-exist guided by love. Not an easy task but a compelling one. In the noisy moments we laughed without question, in the quiet we felt the crazy string that binds us.
After the storm, the ocean showed her might and held us off. We witnessed the roar and might for a rainy day but before and after the Atlantic lay flat and invited us to float about in the salty calm. The healing waves restored us to who we had forgotten we were and dared us to remember who we might become.
Sky broad and vast and forever reaching toward the horizon. Gentle pastels or rich vibrancy, the whole bay alive with color. The super-moon shaped the dark sky and lit a silver path. We spent whole days and nights gazing upward and we undid ourselves together.
Our family time was filled with celebration. Nighttime antics illuminated by jumping for joy. Darkness denied by the lighthouse, our constant guide.
In the center of our tribe is our matriarch. A powerhouse as she faces each dawn. An inspiration as she allows us to be who we come to be.
As we disperse back to our separate lives our footprints fade from sight along the fleeting shoreline but remain etched in memory to last the time apart.
*Many photographs are mine but for those that aren’t, photo credit goes to numerous family members. You know who you are. Thanks for sharing your beautiful vision, xxoo