I've never hidden the fact that I'm a slut for the beach, and will do anything to get there...well, almost anything. I've spoken of how God looked after me when I first met Her, as she grew up in a seaside town, no summer camps, no enrichment programs, just go to the beach and come home for dinner. And how God looked after me when Her mother passed, and we went shopping for a house of our own, steering us away from from the house with too much land for us to use and toward a home on a quiet side street that was, as they say in the nursery tale, "just right."
And so, sitting on the beach weekend after weekend, and vacation after vacation, I've made some acquaintances, not serious friends, just folks to stand at the edge of the surf and while away the hours, admiring the surf and the break of the wave and the ever changing collection of "inventory" the ocean brings in with every wave and movement.
Jack is a good 10 years older than me, with a full shock of white hair and the endless patience for a day at the beach. He retired years ago before he was 55, the beneficiary of a buyout package at some major insurance company. He invested wisely, and has never looked back. A few years ago, as we stood at the edge of the surf, he remarked that the summer was over, and I asked him how he could say that, as it was only the first week in August. He turned to me and explained how the light had changed as it hit the water. The sun was positioned differently in the sky. It wasn't bad, just different.
And although I agreed with him at the time, I never truly understood the change in the light.
Granted that it IS the end of August. But yesterday was a typical summer day in New York City, much the same as we had all last week, close to or up to 90, heavy humidity, a stay inside air conditioner day. But as I went out to the post office, I was struck by how different the light was from the week before, how much lighter and thinner it was (poor words to describe the quality of light, but I'm a musician, not and artist). Even at that relatively high temperature, I could see the end of summer just around the corner, and with it the end of short pants, flip flops, the openness of having nothing to do, the return to prime time television. In spite of the fact that boobs abound and the streets are rife with the cleavage that hot weather brings, it's only a matter of time until we're all covered from head to foot, wrapped in jackets and coats, longing for the return of the lazy hazy days of summer, which I will miss this year more than ever, even as I recognize that this summer has been difficult for me on so many fronts.