Friday, July 06, 2007

I just returned from a very satisfying trip to Fire Island (a barrier island just off Long Island) where I spent a few days with Cat and her family, and also Annie and Gabe.

On Tuesday I took the ferry from New London out to Orient Point. It was a smooth ride all the way on dead flat water under a clearing morning sky. I had my usual egg sandwich (not all that tasty this time), and then sat on the top deck and did some quiet thinking. The peaceful look of the broad expanse of water made it very easy to enjoy the productive thoughts that arose as the breeze passed down the deck. After driving down Long Island to Bayshore and taking a short ride on the ferry, Cat met me at the Dunewood dock and we spent a bright and cheerful afternoon together on the beach. Gabe and Kino romped in the surf and chased and teased a girl while Cat and I caught up on things. It was delightfully cool, which made sitting out in the sun for a few hours especially agreeable. We talked of many things, but our focus, as it often is, was on spiritual topics. Being with her was like drinking at the fountain. Around six, Gabe and Annie came out from the city on the ferry, and we enjoyed a pleasant evening with good conversation, barbecued chicken, cold Mexican beer, and an early lights out.

Wednesday, the 4th, was overcast and squally, but we totally enjoyed ourselves. (Almost any weather is just the thing when you’re at the beach.) I took my traditional early morning walk down to the small market in Fair Harbor, where I bought an appetizing cup of coffee, a donut, and a Times, and then sat on the dock watching the morning light slowly assert itself across the bay. It’s a small ritual, but it’s one of the best things about my annual visit to the island. We spent the rest of the day talking, taking walks on the beach, enjoying fine food, and even taking short naps. It was true “quality time”, whatever we happened to be doing. I loved every second of it. After a tasty pizza dinner (delivered to us by young Gabe on his bike), we walked to the ocean beach to see if there were any fireworks going off down at the Fair Harbor beach. It was a wild night of high winds and crashing surf, and all we could see down the beach in the darkness was a searchlight occasionally crossing the windy sky. We decided to walk across the island to the bay beach, hoping we might glimpse some July 4th festivities far over on the mainland. What we saw was a rare spectacle – a line of perhaps twenty separate fireworks displays all across the distant shore of Long Island. We could barely make out the muffled sounds of the bombs exploding, but we could clearly see the various starry displays as they shot up into the summer darkness. We watched for probably fifteen minutes as first one and then another rocket exploded in the air across the water. None of us had ever seen such an exhibition – so many “bombs bursting in air” at the same time and separated by such distances.

There was a grand thunderstorm through most of the night, but, in between wakeups from the storm, I slept very well. (For me, the sound of steady, soaking rain is even more sleep-inducing than a glass of wine.) In the morning, I again enjoyed my big cup of coffee from the market, and we all had some excellent morning conversations under the still stormy-looking sky. I said my goodbyes to Cat and the boys around 9:30, and Annie and Gabe walked me to the dock where I caught the ferry back to Bayshore, and eventually to my little apartment in Westerly.

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