Ah… the Hamptons…What is it about the Hamptons that continues to draw people from all over the world, returning each season of full bloom, like exotic species of migratory birds flocking to their favorite nesting ground…and why, lifelong, am I one of them?
Is it that the East End of Long Island is one of the earliest European settlements in the Country? There surely is a wealth of history to be uncovered about each charming Town and its inhabitants over five centuries. Or is it that it’s a favorite haunt of celebrities partying in the distant suburbs on New York City? Indeed every summer evening you could find yourself dining beside any imaginable VIP, all blending into the dazzling guest list that interweaves the freedom of beach life, with quaint old villages, rolling farms and wineries, artists of every color, equestrian nobility, majestic mansions, and cosmopolitan glamour.
Now all of that is delightful, sometimes even beyond words and pictures. But that is not what keeps me coming back every season. What draws me back is something much more mysterious and ethereal. Something I have not found anywhere else I have ever been, it is the fingerprint of the forks. It is unique to the area and I can’t live without it. And no amount of money in the world can possess it, as it is free for all who come, and pause, to apprehend it. Rich or poor, young or old, famous or humble, happy or sad, together or alone…it never discriminates and is ever present. What could that possibly be? I’ll tell you what it is: it is the breeze.
Perhaps I first realized what was drawing me the year I rented an old cedar cottage that had been owned by a family whose ties to the area dated back over two hundred years. One day, I sat in the sunroom, legs draped over a wicker recliner, and as I looked out the window, began to daydream. As I entered into that dreamy state, the breeze gently reached into the window, and moved the seafoam chiffon curtain to the side, making my sky gazing a clear sail without the delicate veil to obstruct my view. Somehow I was able to tune into every moment lived there, under the sun, and even those yet to occur, all in a single glance. Those memories, at that moment, included me.
It was during that flight of fancy that I understood: this place is timeless, it is like a heavenly hideaway, a closed universe where only the delightful memories remain and the ocean sweeps away all the toxic debris of days spent away from the dream. Entering into the Hamptons is submerging oneself into the dream, Gatsby privilege with spontaneous romantic whimsy, as all the hopes and promises that any tender heart could desire and yearn for, are there, trapped in the eternal breeze, and visited freely upon every seeker. Also the effervescence of being surrounded by the teeming vitality of the great sea imparts strength, passion, and wisdom.
There were many times that I came to the breeze with a heavy heart, after a trying and difficult work week in the City. There were times of great loss and sorrow, of sickness and loneliness, and of confusion and hopelessness. But soon as I arrived “home” to the breeze, it always greeted me, lifted me, and resuscitated me, taking the dark particulate matter from my urbanized lungs, accumulated through life’s tribulations, and cleansing me again, bathing me in renewal to love and dream again, a kind of respiratory CPR of the soul.
I recall one season when I felt like the world’s biggest loser. And not because I lost 200 pounds on a television show, but because absolutely nothing was going right, and everything seemed utterly hopeless. I invested all my resources into one venture after another and everything was crumbling like dust in my hands. And making matters worse, everyone I had tried to do business with turned out to be unreliable or outright dishonest. I got ripped off a couple of times and was left with nothing…, nothing but the hope that perseverance and resourcefulness would eventually blow home the win.
Another year, I had met the love of my life, only to have that relationship crash like an ill fated rocket. I remember standing in front of a Southampton Jewelry store and kissing him, while he was scanning the engagement rings on display. That same night we greeted a giant red moon together as it appeared and rose like a valentine over the waving ocean, ascending in perfect choreography to the music we were listening to. Yet the next year, I returned alone, brokenhearted and inconsolable, the only thing keeping me company and comforting my wounds was the breeze, ushering me along through a like I don’t always understand.
Then there was the year I was extremely sick and in agonizing pain. It didn’t appear that I was going to survive much longer. But I came out anyway, and behold, here I sit telling you about it. Because something about the incense of one’s sorrows, burning passions sent up in the messenger wind, faithfully lifts the burdens and returns in its place, peace.
Now I find myself in a year of transition, searching for my next great ride, perhaps the final one who can say…, the road that will lead me along in the breeze to the destination that I am destined for. I am listening, my ears pressed to the wind, for it has never let me down, and I am very eager to hear what it has to say, All of this while I watch the parade of adorable dogs waddling by in Westhampton. International visitors speaking in the native tongues along the streets of East Hampton. The strolling shoppers elegantly on promenade in Southampton. The magnificent Yachts coming and going in Sag Harbor to and from destinations ripe for one’s imagination. The cool Art exhibits in Bridgehampton. And of course…, the sacred place where the breeze completely captivates and enraptures me, where it overtakes me in consummate union, even where my cheeks blush at the memory of it, the lighthouse mound in Montauk, where you feel almost as if you are one with the water and the breeze in total freedom and vibrancy. It is there that I experienced it actually hug and kiss me.
Over the decades, families, stores, styles, storms, and events have come and gone, leaving for a time, their trace. But the sweet gentle wind, my lover, has never left, and will ease this weary princess one more time, this weekend, as I return to the breeze to experience the wonderful adventure he has planned.