Deep Summer: That familiar faint rolling echoed distantly in the back of my mind followed by a gentle, yet all the same deafening crash as the advancing water tripped over itself in its own haste to reach the shoreline. The refreshing salt spray was carried to my senses by the wayward sea breeze, contrasting with the pleasant dull heat radiating from the grains and pebbles between my toes. Presumably —for my eyes were closed lazily against the late afternoon sky— a cloud drifted away from the sun allowing warm rays to beat against my eyelids. I was comfortable. The wind whispered in my ears softly as it raced along the shore, tugging gently at my short hair as if enticing each follicle to abandon my head and my sedentary ways to join the breeze on its journey. After a while, the wind gave up and left me alone with my thoughts, taking the promises of far off lands with it. But even with the wind gone it’s never silent here. Soft little footsteps crunched along, traipsing through the coarse overlay of jagged rocks juxtaposing soft sand that coated the coastline. The tiny footsteps stopped with a sudden soft thwap noise and the feel of something small and leathery on my foot. Perplexed, I raised a hand to shield my eyes from the sun beams, and opened my eyelids. Turning my attention to my feet I almost jumped out of my chair when I saw a seagull returning my gaze with his head cocked slightly to the left, and his orange-brown webbed feet planted boldly atop the arch of my own foot, half buried in the sand. My brave new friend squawked at me inquisitively, perhaps looking for food. I shook my head in reply: “I have nothing for you.” The bird squawked again, disgruntled, before turning his back on me, waddling off a few paces and taking flight, perhaps to look for some other beach-goers who were carrying scraps. He wouldn’t find any though: most days I was alone out here. The cottages that clung desperately at dizzying heights to the sheer banks along the shore-side were quiet. The beach itself was empty for what looked like miles in either direction. In July, the beach was typically a bit more populous, but in deep summer, my family and I are normally in solitude out here. But I enjoy my quiet evenings on the beach after a long day; after running or working my job at the nearby water park it is nice to be able to come home to such bliss. And yes, even though the little green cottage where I live during the summer months may seem simply to be a vacation home to some, in many ways this secluded paradise on the Sound is more of a home than the place where I spend the rest of the year. The warmth of the sun subsided as the radiant ball of fire in the distance fell slowly into the rolling waves of the horizon. The sky itself was set ablaze; the sun faded to a dull red and the clouds glowed with apparent fire in brilliant splashes of red, orange, and gold. The water below picked up flecks of color from the heavens above; the waves carried shards of light to the shore and deposited them on the damp sand along the shore with the quiet lapping of the advancing tide. The North Fork is like this sometimes; quietly beautiful and withdrawn, a calm oasis in an otherwise chaotic world. From the time I was a baby I’ve been spending every summer here on the beach; seventeen years of friends made, lessons learned, goals reached, and amazing times had. My true home is in a little green cottage on the North Fork.