What the Hamptons Mean to Me
By Kent Chan
In every great story, thought, or idea- we are given the opportunity to be transformed into a world where reality and stories mesh into a fine network- strong enough to support the weight of any great expectation.
There is gossip, media, internet, and photos- the opportunity to say- “I’ve been there.” And “I’ve done that.”
But a deeper layer exists. There is a canvas beneath all the colors and brushstrokes. There is a canvas with a story. This canvas whispers- but grows louder with every new opportunity.
Each trip I make “out East”- this whisper demands attention, demands its place as the stronghold on which all these colors and patterns are based.
It captures time in subtle ways, something that is not easy to do.
It “freezes time”- if you will- and if you listen closely enough- a different set of stories can be heard.
There is the thickness of that corner tree, tall and sturdy, reaching upwards, daring its past generations to follow and climb. It hints of progress resisted and time weathered- yet unwwaivering in its quiet presence.
The ragged edge of beaten up buildings showing history in its wear- challenging us to not believe in its determination to simply be.
Older friendly faces walk on by, passing and nodding, taking care as to say- “Yes, I was here before.”
There’s the waters edge and constant surf. Persistent- pounding, chronic- a reminder that what was is what is. But a bit less sand, a touch more of this and that, and more footprints left behind.
Now. We can add the colors- our brushstrokes and style- to this canvas that’s now not really so bland afterall. Our expectations, desires, faults, and being create our picture- growing bigger and bigger.
Locals and visitors come with their brushes in hand- reaching- a dab here and there- splashing- dusting our canvas cover with their own unique signature.
The end result is blinding. This great thought or idea which we had talked about before has materialized. However- to see it all- we must take a step back.
To each person there might be patterns all amiss or they may fall right into place. They may not be able or care to see the same things as others- each unique- but in a way they are all similar.
Now. I take a step back- and share with you my vision.
I see birthdays celebrated each year. Presents, parties, and candles lit- the flame flickering so fast- I hold my blink that much deeper- so they don’t grow up any faster.
There is time spent in the car- “the driving out East.” The future holds the yet to be discovered shortcuts, the present- the journey, and the past- the time spent together.
There’s coffee in the morning in any great village. Jogging down the road along a path demanding to be run. Even seeing Dan’s from Dan’s Paper- all in white with hat outside a farmer’s market, sitting quietly on a bench. Is he real? What’s he thinking? Yes- he does exist!
Friends that visit- the ones you want to stay- and the ones you don’t- sharing drinks, carnivals, charities, galleries, and festivals. Have my memories created my own Jackson Pollock?
These are my brushstrokes. They create a layer on this canvas that despite being covered up- as long as I remember it’s there- it never leaves. It’s a foundation in its place.
All these menories are built upon an idea that runs deep. It’s a place, a time, an entity, and a picture made by all that become part of it.
It has been said that “In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away.”
So if you ask me again- I am waiting for that next breath. This is what the Hamptons mean to me.