Hot Fun

Monday

  • A long spell with temperatures near ninety every day, some with breezes some calm, scorching sun.  Kids and many adults on vacation.  Water has heated up nicely: even on Monday beaches are crowded, various craft cram the waterways, and children play at catching crabs and chasing minnows with nets.  Early in the day, on a low tide, there is still some solitude to be found.
  • Not long ago, I loved lonely beaches.  I could not sit still and would walk miles along the sand as the rest of the family sat and absorbed sun.  Now I’ve slowed down a lot, and enjoy places with lots of activity, where I also sit and, I suppose, add something to the ambience.  Even on a brutal day, beaches this time of year are a far nicer place to hang out than the air conditioned prisons our TV doctors are always stridently telling elders to hide in.   

Tuesday

  • Folks heading for their power boat permanently moored in deeper water.  Small boats barely afloat serve to ferry them out and back, the mooring is swapped for the duration.  Even in these civilized areas, theft of such small craft is not unknown.  An even more difficult problem is some being left to decay and rot along the shore when owners move or die or become disinterested.  On occasion the town clears out the whole roadside bank.
  • I never quite understood the buoys themselves, but they are lifted in early fall and distributed anew each spring.  That must be done by professionals _ the spacing must be such that winds and tides will not cause collisions _ and each one requires payment to the town and is jealously guarded by its owner.  In any case, this is the “poor man’s solution,” the rich far prefer marinas with docks, security, gas, food, and everything else including help if it’s needed.

Wednesday

  • Nowhere on Long Island is pristine _ perhaps not even primeval before the first Europeans arrived.  Yet walking along dirt roads through the woodlands and coming upon a meadow of grasses and milkweed like some reminder of centuries ago can allow some contemplation of man and nature.  More so, of course, when there are few other people around.
  • We live on one of the most crowded and developed areas of the planet, so even the parklands are frequently filled.  Like many antisocial people, I have the gift or curse of being easily alone in a crowd, sensing others more as if they were flocks of geese (or passenger pigeons?)  One almost sure way to have maximum room is to go against the grain _ wet cool weather along the beach, or as today inland in humid heat that sends everyone else to the shore.

Thursday

  • When Americans mostly lived along the Eastern Seaboard, and dreamed of being the next Rome (but exceptional!) Long Island Sound was dubbed “The American Mediterranean.”  On a hot August day with sun sparkling on wind whipped waves as sailboats dart about, it almost seems true.  Of course that effete European lake never experiences any winters like this body of water.
  • We have plentiful public beaches and open areas, grace of bygone wealth and ancestral pride.  Some claim my boomer generation will bequeath nothing but ashes, but I think our record of environmental cleanup, social responsibility, heritage preservation, scientific research, economic growth, and knitting the world with commerce, culture, and electronic communication compares favorably with any others.  This bay, for instance, is cleaner and more alive than it was when we came into adulthood.

Friday

  • The James Joseph goes out several times a day from the town dock, through the inlet and sets up just offshore on the Sound.  Although it can be chartered, it’s mostly just families going out occasionally to fish for something a decent size.  They must be successful, for the boat is usually followed by a huge flock of seagulls feasting on the thrown overboard remains of the cleaned fish.
  • I find it hopeful that there are such activities remaining.  Fish populations must be relatively ok for this to pay well enough.  And I do agree that most true sportsmen tend to be conservationists.  More than that, this helps to protect the local environment more than donations to some remote wilderness, which is also necessary, but infrequently encountered by most of us.

Saturday

  • This scene from Northport looks like an impressionist painting of the Paris Tuilleries.  People sitting, talking, eating, walking dogs, and mostly watching other people accented by brilliant harbor background.  In times of incessant  electronic immersion, it’s comforting that ancient human patterns and behaviors can sometimes prevail.  Probably people have gathered thus in beautiful places forever.
  • I was amazed to see a couple playing serious chess on an inlaid concrete table.  Once I would have thought doing any more than taking in the spectacle and moving on was a severe waste of my time.  Now, slower and possibly wiser, I am just one of the crowd, letting a golden afternoon slowly drift from future
    to past without any of my help at all.

Sunday

  • Small children need active play, no matter what time of year.  Even in high heat of summer, park playgrounds like this one at Hecksher are wonderful spots.  Sometimes in the overwhelming affluence of this culture, parents try to recreate everything in their backyard.  That can be a losing proposition, since various parks offer variety of scenery, and ranges of equipment to keep kids from being quickly bored.  Plus toddlers grow so fast that often back-yard construction is out of their age group within months.
  • For a while, it seemed playgrounds were being dumbed down to such rigid safety standards that all that was allowed was sliding down a short plastic tunnel.  Happily, I see, swings and merry-go-rounds and jungle gyms are back in fashion.  Total safety is always an illusion, since any of us can severely hurt ourselves stepping off a curb or getting into a bathtub. 

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