I like to stand near the rock piles on the west side of Jones Inlet. I watch the tides move in and out; I watch the earth breathe, and I watch as the waves crest onto the dark gray boulders that reach out like a black finger from the shoreline.
Behind me, the sleepy town of Point Lookout lives in summer homes, which were built into year-round living, and remodeled into a small, but high-priced community. The streets are narrow and there is little space between the homes, but the town has its own charm …and charm goes a long way.
To the east, opposite the canal and behind another set rock piles, Long Island beaches flood with bodies and families, bathing in the warm sunshine, and creating memories.
To the south, commercial boats move through the waters to make their way into the deep sections of the Atlantic, and small, recreational crafts rise and fall over the rolling tides and fish the inlet.
Behind me, or west, is the beach of Point Lookout. I have depended upon these sands for nearly four decades. I depend upon them to act like a sponge, absorbing my footsteps as I walk between ocean and land, releasing the mental toxins, and breathing in the offshore breeze.
I have come here throughout the different stages of my life. I have come to this place during the good times and bad.
This beach is my own special sanctuary.
This is where I walked for hours with The Old Man. I have taken my child here. I have been here alone and I have been here with the best of company. However, I prefer this beach in the off-season. I enjoy the empty stretch of sand, which is vacant, but far from forgotten.
Winter gulls fly overhead and circle the tides for food. The wind blows cold, but the presence of God is warm, and I feel as though I can claim my sanity or, at least, regain my composure for the moment.
I view this beach as a place of confession, which is why I prefer it during the season’s hibernation and empty. I describe the sand as a sponge because it cushions my footsteps and absorbs my sin. I come here to forget, and as well, I come here to remember.
I have been here during the rain and watched the clouds leak down into the unstoppable ocean. And I say unstoppable, because though it rains and storms, life beneath the water remains.
The tides continue; the waves may differ in size, but they never stop. Instead, they fold into the sand, returning into the undertow of the subsurface, and eventually, the waves form again—possibly somewhere farther than my furthest dream.
I have come to this beach and I have enjoyed the sunshine. I have enjoyed the youthfulness, which runs in the sands and screams in the refreshing waters that take away the summer heat, and rejuvenate our smiles.
I see this as a vision of life: Men, women, and people of all ages run into the waves, happy to scream out, anxious to live, and eager to run faster than the finality of death.
This place means everything to me. And though the years has changed its face, and though the storms re-adjust the shore, I come here to remind myself that like the ocean, life is always moving and continually changing.
I come here because the sands never complain about the changes—they just simply re-form, absorb the blow, and cushion our footsteps.