The sandbar was the same. Well probably not exactly as it appeared years ago, since tides change and years erode beaches and sea life moves and though we wish it, nothing stays the same. The sandbar is a constant to me. It is there when if timed right and tides cooperate, a magnificent spit of sand alive with crustaceans rises, calling me home. I am here in that Zen peaceful state that everyone wants. The day is a gift to cherish and I saturate my soul. The periwinkle sky is a painting, the brilliant white clouds, brushstrokes. The sun is high and there is a soft breeze. The water is warm and you can see the bottom in the shallow ends or when the sandbar is not “all up.” I walk now, I used to run, across the length and dive into the cool inky deep water at the end, climb up the incline and I am home on the sandbar again. Only gulls squawk and maybe a few clammers are visible in the distance, other than that, I am Robinson Crusoe with a small boat. Or maybe Anne Bonny, female pirate claiming this sandbar as a respite from the high seas. I feel a clam with my foot, have I struck gold? A “spot?” No, just a rock attached with dangling mossy seaweed. A fiddler crab dances by my toes reminding me how life is as simple or as complicated as we decide. We go from here to there, and often sideways. I could be anywhere, but I am here, in Napeague, where memories are stored in my bones as much as a clam’s age is revealed by the rings on its shell. The rings go deep in the older clams, like this “land of the overflowing sea,” the name the Montaukett Indians gave Napeague, has rooted itself in me. The sandbar is part of my history too.
I came here carefree and innocent. I came here with children. I came here wise and nostalgic. I come for the sandbar. Each time I have the same feeling. A tug home and all is right with the world. It is an irresistible feeling of soothing calm. Calm switched around spells clam, which amuses me, as do the steamer or piss clams that squirt from their holes in the sand as I step across the sandbar. The thought of a pail of buttery steamers makes my mouth water. Later. Now I need the sustenance of nature and the warm sun on my skin and to feel like a mermaid with tresses that smell of the sea. If this sandbar could talk it would reveal stories of early morning picnics and pensive afternoon walks on its sand. Or wet kisses stolen as I bent down to pick up shells and watched the underwater show emerge for my pleasure and education. What have I learned from my sandbar? A lot. Patience. Clams must be found and dug. Beauty. Nature is a kaleidoscope of color and movement and sound. Gratitude. How lucky I am to have been shown this sandbar on a boat ride many moons ago. Imagination. What sparks adventures cannot be found on a phone or computer, this is nature at its finest. Relaxation. Without effort, it just happens when I step ashore onto the sandbar.
A new generation will come to this sandbar, their curiosity already piqued by sandbar stories of elders. “When can we go?” they squeal. “The tide must be low,” I explain. They will see it with new eyes of wonder. For them, like me, it will become a magical pristine place only accessible by boat and the secret location guarded like a jewel or trust. The sandbar keeps my secrets and is always there when I need to feel that first feeling of discovery and joy. It’s only a sandbar, this is true. How can it stir such emotional euphoria? I don’t know. How can you bottle the soul?