My Watery Muse

I need water.

Oyster Bay Fest, October 2014, rowboat in foregroundNot the glass of drinking water that’s an arm’s length away. I need to wake up each day near the kind of water that undulates, has personality. For almost a decade I lived on Long Island’s south shore, not on the water but near enough to smell it from my house. A quick drive or bike ride took me to the canals. (I no longer remember what bay the canals fed from.) One exit on the highway led to the ocean beach. The energy there relaxed me and made me happy.

As it does many people. It’s been long known that there are health benefits to time spent near water. Although I live in a nice enough area, there is no moving water. Perched in an apartment building, I have a lovely view of other apartment buildings.

Long Island is both muse and nemesis. I can fight the weekend traffic to drive to their shores. but here’s where it gets weird: There are some outstanding public beaches but most of the nicest shoreline is inaccessible. It is privately owned or limited to residents. I understand that last part because they pay exorbitant taxes.

I miss the feeling of retreating waves sucking the sand from beneath my feet as I stand in the shallow water. The smell of sunblock and hot dogs. Lazily reading a book or chatting while I rotate like a rotisserie chicken. Staring at the horizon. Ending the day eating at a local dive, seated at a  picnic table.

It’s not all idyll: jellyfish and sand flies, cars and crowds. I’ll take my chances during the week sometime this summer. I will return inspired. No, first a nap, then I’ll feel the inspiration.

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