One Golden Moment

Written By: Susie Rakowski


A lot of speculation has made about the unique and treasured light of the beautiful enclave we call the East End. Some say it is the weight of the molecules in the air. Or it is the way atoms emit and absorb light. Others speculate that the varying depths of our bays, lakes, streams and ocean reflect rays that produce nothing less than a dreamlike masterpiece.

The atmosphere of the eastern end of Long Island, specifically East Hampton, has been nothing but a cloak of consolation, to my soul and to my well-being.

For fifteen years, I shared life here with my soul mate in our small home we nicknamed The Lantern. At night, the abode on a quiet Village lane radiated a soft, warm beam of comfort.

Every day we spent in the Hamptons was a gift that we never took for granted. We had each come from other far less beautiful places. We esteemed the elms on Main Street, the soaring sycamores that lined our block. This land, sea, and the very ether of the East End inspired us. It also soothed and relaxed us.

This appreciation and gratitude accelerated whenever sorrow and despair entered our perfect universe. Don’t we all breathe a distinct sigh of liberation and peace when crossing the Shinnecock Canal?

According to various books on the history of Long Island, it was the Shinnecock and Montaukett Native Americans who constructed the original canal in the 17th century.

A lock system had to be built in the early 1900s to accommodate the varying water heights of the two converging bays. To this day, the Shinnecock Canal navigation lock is the only one operating on Long Island.

The East End is a delightful escape. The short five-second journey over the bridge is a line of demarcation between stress, anxiety and tension to the Hamptons’ promise of joy, bliss, peace and fun. As you make the passage over the canal glance north to the Peconic Bay or south to the Shinnecock Bay and let the ceasefire with your troubles begin.

This was certainly the operating mode we embraced when the cancer diagnosis was confirmed.

The drives to Sloan Kettering evolved into expeditions as the illness spread. Each trip back home was appreciated more intently as we knew our time together would be extinguished.

A walk on the beach for us became a marvel. One September afternoon the ocean at Atlantic Avenue beach staged a dramatic display of prism-like refracted colors dancing on the sea. A gift. A simple drive to Louse Point at low tide and finding a piece of blue beach glass was a beautiful victory.

Observing the sparkling starlit skies in the later stages of our life together gave us hope that a parallel universe existed. The brilliant night skyscape offered an exquisite tease that we might be able to one day communicate via a twinkle every now and then.

Many say Grief is a form of madness. We must learn to live without our loved one while we also mourn the loss of the person we became with that individual.

I wish everyone facing heartbreaking and traumatic sorrow had the opportunity to spend time on the East End. It might not cure the forever hole in the heart but it could help make the transition to a new beginning a bit less excruciating.

I’m lucky to wake up every day here for another chance to not only see, but also feel, the glorious and rightfully celebrated light of the East End. It is a gentle, healing light.

I often return in the fall to Atlantic Avenue beach to try and recapture that marvelous colorful crystal vision we once watched in wonder. One day the energy-producing Gods of Light might treat me to a reoccurrence of that flamboyant cellophane-like sea.

Meanwhile, I have so many precious memories to savor since I arrived in East Hampton in 1992. My soul mate is gone but still shines a powerful light on me like a beautiful star that radiates and beams long after it is gone.

Many people search for just a few distinct and enriching golden moments in their lives. Highlights they have experienced on their journey that they can recall, celebrate and cherish.

But for me, life on the East End, then with my love and now, has truly been One Continuous Golden Moment.