Sunday, August 31, 2014

Shoreline Revelations

Well, Labor Day has snuck back into town—a little prematurely,
this year, if you ask me—so before it’s too late, I thought I’d sneak one more beach story in while you can still smell the Coppertone.

Z and I were down on the Jersey Shore a few weeks ago for our annual pilgrimage to renew our…tans.

What?  You thought I was going to say something profound like: renew our spirits or our souls.

Well, yeah…that too. But any dyed in the sand beach person knows that comes standard, along with the shells and the dolphins, and everything else shore related.

And if you’re not a beach person, or have an aversion to rolling waves, sun, sand and a general sense of well-being…then please, just stay where you are and read no further. I wouldn’t want to sway your digitized soul with idyllic sunset allusions and mystical references to whales and pelicans, or take your nose out of your smart phone.

Besides, the line at the pancake house is already way
too long, even on weekdays….

The thing about a beach vacation, aside from the 3 pounds of sand you discover in the lining of your bathing suit when you get home, is that you discover a new revelation every year.

Perhaps a unique, personal insight about love and life, borne from the flotsam washed up and over your beach blanket as you sit way to close to the ocean’s edge, even after your spouse warns you, the tide is still coming in.

Or the correlation between clear morning sunrises and the line to buy cold cuts at the Acme.  Nah…I’m just kidding. There’s no correlation there…there’s always a line to buy cold cuts at the Acme.

No, the real revelation comes when you finally get to place your order at your favorite ice cream joint of choice, only to find they’ve discontinued that Bubble Gum Pineapple Pistachio nut flavor soft serve that you couldn’t get enough of the last three sum

But hey, that all part of the beach experience; the shore line is constantly evolving, so why not the flavor of the week?

This year, the thing that resonated most with me, was the idea that spending a week at the shore…any shore…is like spending a week lost in time.

Really, except for the ice cream, not much changes from decade to decade.

Oh sure, store fronts come and go, and super storms wash away iconic beach shacks from time to  time, but the spirit of the place, the faces and the smiles are constant from year to year…even after nature takes its best shot.

Drive anywhere on the main drag and you’ll find pairs of young boys, towels in tow, standing on the corner, laughing and shoving, just feet from the beach; wet, sun whipped, garbed in droopy bathing suits that could have been bought any time, from the 40’s to today. 

Little girls in ageless sunhats and colorful cover-ups, riding on dad’s shoulders; turned out himself like his dad, granddad and great granddad before him. All of them there, together…in spirit if not form.

Mom’s sporting large, round sunglasses, flopping in universal flips, dragging beach wagons behind, filled with tubes and balls…shovels and buckets soon to be packed with castle making, dragon dreams.

Eyes sparkling, anticipation building…onward and over the dunes, to the beach, dotted with   unchanged, unending umbrellas, spreading to the sea.

Simple, timeless, free and freeing.

Another week at the beach…revealing the past, the present and future in a single glance, on a single street corner…just feet from a timeless shore.

Can’t wait to find what next year brings….


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  1. This is very good. Why on earth aren't you setting up a book or perhaps you are. I like the style here. Very akin to Bill Bryson's notes from a small island except yours is a dammed large continent but you seem to manage the humour equally easy. I have to work at my stuff and mostly struggle with the preamble. Keep it up we love it over here mate.

    1. Thanks, Mate...but stop trying to make more work for me....

  2. Brian is unique. However, he reminds me somewhat of Jean Shepherd of radio and print fame. Both draw on childhood memories that are funny and apparently universal. But Brian is truly contemplative, as he ponders the mysteries of time and life. Which makes me think that Time will soon go the way of Life.

    1. I may very well have to compile a book of all these comments, someday soon. They are certainly overtaking the content in both wit and satire....

  3. reading this makes me want to go back and find that bliss. the lost time that is so precious. i always take a moment home w me from the beach and the woods. a moment of complete contentment, sitting on the beach and the smells and the sounds and and loving that lost time.
    love this, brian! thank you.

    1. Thanks, Nicole...and you're welcome...all at the same time. I knew you would understand where I was coming from with this. I admit that you and you're beach loving family--not to forget the pool loving Maggie Bo-- did cross my mind when jotting this down.... Hang on...there's still some life to this ol summer yet!

    2. high school sports is killing our summer spirit and finding that lost time AWAY. ;0)
      i have so many pictures to share.... i have to get on that so you have something to do between now and next summer...


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