Grabbing Happiness


From up close damage to leaves is apparent, on each far horizon filled with foliage there are spots of color already.  There are ripples in the water from a strong breeze, hinting that Mr. North Wind has heard the alarm go off and is starting to get up.  Even walking along, in the mid afternoon, the shadows are shockingly long and deep well before I think they should be.  And after dinner, the evening too quickly slides into full darkness.

Still, there are merry times and days as long as nights and warmth.  Everyone is grabbing what moments they can, all keenly aware of the date and not only the coming natural cycle but the sudden onset of new obligations at school and work and family.  Ah, but this week _ this week remains wonderful, no longer in timeless summer, but a perfect few days of vacation when absolutely nothing needs to be accomplished that cannot be put off.  A procrastinator’s dreamtime.

Although I do not seem to need much more than appropriate clothing, shoes, and some trail to happily take advantage of life, there are many who find their needs more “advanced.”  Usually that involves some sort of exclusivity or expensive toys, happily merged into one with pleasure craft.  Harmless enough, I guess, compared to giant machines that do real damage to the ecology.

As noted before, most of the boats around here seem ninety percent or more for prestige display.  This is no ancient fishing village, where the beaches and docks and water are cleared by early morning and filled again as the sun sets.  Most of the vessels you see here, including the one cruising the foreground, are taken out extremely rarely and might as well be set on concrete foundations.  But this is the end of summer, and if there is going to just be one or two uses a year, this is definitely the time to do so.

Early misty sunlight falls on the old yacht clubhouse on the hill.  For those who  can tell time with the progression of plants, this could be no other time of year.  In this case, I think the ornamentals have improved on what would be here naturally.  I know that is heretical, but I am not really a fan of naked nature wilderness _ I like civilization and its comforts, including beautiful landscaping.

These days, we are encouraged to take an extreme path in order to make a difference and have some leverage in the world.  Scream at each bit of woodland that is lost to development, passionately worry about changes to places we have never seen.  I think we rather need to be more thoughtful, more balanced, more in tune with everything _ including other people and nature.  We begin that by understanding ourselves and our true feelings about the real, the artificial, and all points inbetween.

A “weed” on Mill Dam road accents how loosely our definitions are applied.  Especially as September arrives, any wildflower still blooming, however we normally categorize it, is special.  Well, more special.  Well, you know what I mean.

That’s the problem, of course, with trying to apply superlatives to anything.  Everything is unique and marvelous and looked at properly incredibly special.  Fractal meanings into life and unity and cosmic order and human consciousness and appreciation.  How dare I single out anything as more interesting or important than anything else?  But that is my nature as well, so I will continue to do so.

This is the height of “snapper” season _ baby bluefish reaching a size when they can actually be usefully cooked.  Generally, at the right tide, you just throw a hook, bait, and bobber in the water and pull one out.  For serious fishermen it is less sport than mindless harvesting, but for the rest of us it is a quick and happy return to childhood for a few hours.

Goldenrod and snappers are my perpetual alarms that the weather is going to turn soon.  There will be nice days to come _ quite a few of them, quite often.  But there will be increasing bouts of rain and cold, and inevitably the few leaves now drifting down will be increased exponentially.  Romantics would say it is a bittersweet moment, but enjoying the change _ all the changes _ always knowing there is something new and different right around the corner _ is the charm of living in a temperate zone.



Wait a minute!  This hardly looks like people taking advantage of the last hot moments of true summer.  An all but deserted beach, under a blazing sun and only one person and a lifeguard on the wide expanse of sand.

A lot of people are doing necessary shopping for school _ which they would probably be doing if this were predicted as the last day on earth, regardless of weather.  And the sad fact is that there are many, many, finer beaches on Long Island _ some only five minutes a way _ and this particular town facility is a sad relic of a bygone era when people _ like my wife _ were far less mobile and had to make do with what was within walking distance.  Few in America remember those days of single car families, with the only transportation used to take the only bread-winner to work all day long.  And yet _ it’s a lovely beach, caressed by the same sun and water as all the others, with views just as magnificent.  Anyway, at least a few people (drive here) and still enjoy the clean, uncrowded shoreline.

A parade of boats into the outer sound, as everyone wants a last chance to swim, and relax, have a beer, just hang out on the water.  And, to be honest, it is the beginning of season for stripers and bluefish, although I doubt many of these are seeking prey except as an excuse.  In our culture, it is always important to be seen as doing something _ even fishing _ instead of just goofing off and loafing and so on.  Although to the untrained eye, all those may look pretty much the same.

I don’t mind _ the pennants on the sailboat are a touch of exotic color, I enjoy the enjoyment of others.  I don’t say my way is better, it is simply my way.  The seasons of the year and the seasons of life are coming to all of us anyway regardless of our desires and acts.  Being able to vicariously participate in what people do is one of the wonderful abilities we have to deepen and expand our experience.





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