Sitting on the balcony with a cold beer and and the expansive view of a white Atlantic, the muse returns. Escorted on the arm of a gentle breeze on this cool August evening, it seemed as good a time as any to pursue its inspiration.
The sun climbs down the hill behind us after a long day’s journey and the blue and gold sky fades to periwinkle, clouds towering like tidal waves above the horizon, preparing to swallow the shore. The street lamps on Sandy Hook ignite in a synchronized splash and pairs of headlights make their way homeward or adventure bound.
Summer is in full swing though the humid haze called in sick. We don’t miss it.
Nights like these, you can hear yourself think and even turn that off if you wanted to. I tune in to a symphony of birds, crickets, and the exhalation of car engines in the distance. Air conditioners take a well deserved rest and their lack of participation is welcome.
Our eyes adjust to the dimming dusk as the river mirrors the sky. Long Island twinkles animatedly in the distance and the JFK departures rise slow into ombré velvet, brushed just the right way.
I pull up a cozy throw of summer air under my laptop and nestle in with all the other nestling buildings, plants, and people. Together, we all fade from view into one deep blue.
I sit on the porch of our family shore house listening to the morning symphony of foam flip flops shuffling along slate sidewalks to the boardwalk, the gentle rumbling of car engines in slow pursuit of good parking spaces, and the sweet-tuned gossip amongst the birds singing the breaking news of summer from the trees lining the street.
The breeze is cool and a cocktail of salty humidity clings to the furniture as the sun spotlights the modernized facelifts of our street’s once Victorian-style dollhouse homes.
I can usually see the ocean from this spot on the cozy wicker sofa, but the hedges around the porch have grown a little too accustomed to a casually untidy appearance which we can all pretty much relate to from living through a worldwide pandemic. I could use a trim as well but that can wait a while longer. These are those lazy, hazy, crazy days of… well you know, after all.
(The birds’ news reel plays on a loop).
I was too lazy to prepare the coffee this morning and didn’t want to wake anyone sleeping on the first floor with the bubbling gasps of the coffee pot. So instead, I gathered my laptop and headed out to the porch to sit in the breeze and be inspired by summer. Not too long after, I am joined by my cousin and her young son and demands for bubble time take priority. Wobbly iridescence floats heavily on the air and splash lands on the floorboards while the writing takes a rest.
Welcome distractions abound in this family-filled old house. These walls tell stories of use and love – of our own contained family history in this little shore town. The rooms are filled with laughter and conflicting TV volume preferences – with movie decision fatigue and lazy mornings sipping coffee. The scent memory of freshly baked Italian rolls and cinnamon sugar crumb cake permeate the dining room and waft up the stairs like a buttery apparition encouraging everyone to wake up in slow procession.
The memories of past experiences and loved ones long gone remain alive in this magical place, preserved like old time postcards in a frame. This house tells us stories and helps us write new ones. It makes us laugh till our bellies and our cheeks ache or even sometimes, till we pee “our” pants (IYKYK). It is where we have gathered for my whole life- where I got to know my family as a whole and I am so grateful for all that it gives us. We try our best to do right by it and keep the experiences going, even when it gets hard or we don’t have a clue what we are doing.
But now it is time to put away the laptop and enjoy the first day of summer – to bask in the salty breeze of the shore, with the only current task at hand of pondering when to head to the beach.