Our Beach, Indian Wells
By Cindy Motz
If you’ve spent any time here, you already know about the special light, the silky sand, and that mellifluous curling of the jade/blue ocean waves that makes beaches in theHamptonsunique. But lately, I’ve been thinking more about what it is exactly that makes my beach, Indian Wells, so great for me. After all, it’s a strip of land bordering the ocean, a phenomenon rendered obvious given the natural constructs of our planet. And it’s not just that it’s a beach, because there are a lot of beaches, and even a lot of other places that are special too. But sometimes, a place can become more than just a place. It becomes more than that little red balloon on the Google map, taking on a history, a feel, even a life of its own. In some sense, these places evolve with us, not only continuing to be created, but becoming almost creators themselves. For me, and for a lot of us, Indian Wells beach is not just a place; it’s a place where things—a lot of good things—happen, and connections are made.
My first introduction to Indian Wells and Amagansett came in 2003 when we rented onHedges Lane. An unwieldy family of five with three kids, and too many friends staying over all the time, we were lucky to have the beater car with the beach sticker that got us back and forth to Indian Wells. In 2006, we bought our home onGansett Lane; and Indian Wells is where our kids had their first blue-dip, and Bugs Bunny ice cream pops, the ones with the gum balls we pulled out because we thought they might choke. It’s where we first had Kenny’s hot dogs, and Craig’s soft serve ice cream with sprinkles—and then, heard Kenny’s complaints about Craig’s noisy cooling motors. Indian Wells was the subject of one of my environmental management papers on the Atlantic Double Dunes, a unique, natural wonder that provides safety to Amagansett in stormy times. Indian Wells beach is also where children build sand castles, get buried up to their heads, and dig for hours for mole crabs. The record for our kids was64 ina single visit—all of which were returned, unharmed, when the day was done!
Indian Wells is where you can still find clam, scallop, moon snail, muscle and other shells, horse shoe, hermit, and other crabs, starfish and the strange vertebrae of some sea creature that even the kids’ science teachers can’t identify with certainty. Then, there are the birds—not just the seagulls who can dive from fifty feet onto anything resembling aluminum foil, plastic or paper that might contain food—but the piping plovers, whose nests we always respect. The children even have their own “piping plover” game where they tip-toe as closely as possible to the water’s edge, and then retreat with bubbly laughter as the tide tries to catch them, pulls back, and then reveals the smooth sand, speckled with tiny crab holes. Deer, rabbits, moles, mice, and other assorted beach/dune forest inhabitants fill in the varied beach menagerie that encompasses the environs of Indian Wells. And of course, there are the beach butterflies, mostly big, orange monarchs fluttering everywhere among the golden rod in late September/early October.
The beach has become a place where we watch movies like The Wizard of Oz and Grease to help raise money for the food pantry. It’s where we could walk down to see the Cantor Fitzgerald September 11 memorial vigils. It’s been the site of my sons’ 11th birthday party, a great friend’s 40th birthday, and the preferred spot for countless cook-outs with hot dogs, marshmellows, and s’mores roasts. It’s the place where we’ll forget the corkscrew, and someone else forgets the lighter; then, we’ll trade, so we both have a fun evening. It’s a place where when you give someone a beer, he sends his friend over with a guitar to serenade you—even though you would have done it for nothing, because that’s just what you do here. It’s a place where you can be 80 or weigh180 pounds, and still wear a bikini just because it feels good. It’s where you’ve seen countless lifeguard rescues. And then, your daughter participates in the junior life guard program, racing up and down the beach, pretending to save people…maybe really saving some of us some day.