A Homecoming by the Sea
I grew up between the bay and the sound. Small town life was all I had ever known. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t hate this life. In fact, I loved it very much, but I couldn’t hide my excitement to receive my diploma and see what the “real world” had in store for me.
The summer after my senior year I packed up my mom’s SUV and headed for our nations capital. I went from being a “country kid,” to a living breathing “cidiot,” a word many of us Islanders have come to describe those that partake in the weekend invasion of our small beach front towns. Not to say these aren’t lovely people, but come on even the back roads they’ve found!
During my time at school shuffling from metro stop to metro stop I thought heavily of my childhood and my life on the North Fork. I finally understood how lucky I was to to have grown up with the sand in my feet, the sun on my face, and the family-like community at my back. I realized that I hadn’t been hiding from the real world, but was living in a world that many wished they could. A world full of natural beauty and kind people.
I returned from my first year of college and was greeted with a breath of fresh air. Literally, my lungs thanked me for a mouth full that was free of pollution.
The fist thing I did was hop in my Dodge pickup and began a drive to the infamous Sound Ave. I gazed at the open fields, fancy vineyards, and breath taking beaches. It felt like home.
Before long the day turned into evening. It was my favorite time of day. The sun was sinking in the sky and the cool air began to lay over the land. I made my way down to the beach hearing the familiar sound of rocks crunching beneath my feet as they sank further into the sand. The sky began to light up red and orange and the moon began to illuminate the land. I climbed up on the chair and the cold wood stuck to my white legs that had not yet been tanned by the summer sun. I looked out on the sound and started to reminisce. Only a few months ago I was siting in this very sport accompanied by my friends. The same friends I have had since grade school. We spoke of the many times we had come to this place and all that it had meant to us.
A picture flashed in my mind. Young kids eating ice cream on a tower that seemed as if it could touch the clouds. Others were skipping rocks and doing kart wheels in the sand below. These kids seemed so familiar, but were so distant. Time progressed in my mind and the bikes they would ride to the tower turned to cars and permits. The sunset strolls still carried on, but would be engulfed with gossip, plans of the future, and raging teenage emotions. The tower overlooked the many bonfire beach parties, became a prime spot for a midnight make out, or a reckless skinny dip, and would even provide a beautiful view while eating an early morning bacon egg and cheese before work.
The tower watched us grow up. The salt soaked wood knew all the secretes of the tiny town, but then again, who didn’t. I loved this place, these people, and everything they have given me. I learned the value of community here and in my heart that’s what makes this place so special.
I looked back over the sound. The last time I had been here, not even a year ago, it felt like an ending. The closing of a chapter. But here I was back again. It was at this time that I realized no matter how much I changed and no matter what life threw at me. This would always be my home. This is what it means to grow up on the east end of Long Island, salt water will run through your veins and the sound will always pull you home. It’s a special place with endless beauty.