It’s late November, a crisp, clear, windy day at the Jersey Shore. Months before, when the weather was warmer, the beach was thronged with kids, families, beachcombers and others who were taking in the warm sun and view of the ocean. Today, only a handful of people are there, trying not to be knocked over in the gutsy northwest wind. A dog owner gives chases as his canines slip their leash and make a run for it up the sand. A hooded fisherman stands on the jetty, casting a line and maybe searching a fresh lunch. A lone woman clambers up another jetty, standing tall and contemplating…something. Joggers huff and puff down the boardwalk. A father and son play catch. And birds dive-bomb into the water, catching a fish unaware. Me, sitting on a bench, drinking coffee and bundling up against the cold and wind.
What is it about the ocean that draws us to it, especially in the waning days of autumn? It may be the peace of the place, long after the crowds and heat have dissipated, where you hear just the wind and waves crash against the shore. The vastness of what lies in front you leads to contemplation–who am I? Where am I in the world? Where will I go? Did I lock my car?
You know, the big questions.
In another life, or if I win the lottery, my dream house wouldn’t be huge, but it would sit on the beach. To watch the sun rise, the storms roll in, and to see the Milky Way at night.