Monday, July 9, 2007

How Did I Get Here?

Watching TV at a cabin or beach house (as I am now) is the last place this medium retains any of its novelty, some of the je ne sais quoi that it must have held in those early days. Sitting, as the night cools around you, the wind picking up off the ocean, through the trees, over the lake, and taking in a program—a baseball game in the summer, the news, a late night show—coming off the blue screen surrounded by old VHS tapes, you can once again feel like this thing is not a complete waste of time. You are transformed and set down into another time, when this was a way to spend a night outside of the city.

This place is nice. I'm on Fire Island in a home about six steps from the beach. After a rocky trip getting here--laying down upon a make-shift shelf to divide the back of a minivan for a touring musician does not agree with my ridiculous motion sickness--we hopped on the ferry and headed out across the Atlantic to this affluent beach community. After settling in to the home—small in comparison to some on the island; only three bedrooms and three bathrooms—and spending a moment sitting in the backyard where orchids stare at you as you take in the scene, we headed down to the beach and took a dip in the freezing, salty water. Coming from the Midwest the salt of the ocean always surprises momentarily, shocks fresh water fundamentalists briefly. After the swim, a nap on the beach seemed appropriate. I woke up alone (my companions having drifted in their own expeditions) and dazed, wondering just where I was on the planet, and once I located that in my clouded brain, wondering just how I had gotten to this place on the globe. The world is funny in that it decides to place us in locations where, taking a moment to notice, we are utterly confused as to how this all came to be. One of the first nights I was in New York I found myself on a rooftop patio with some people I had just met, one of which had flown in from Belfast, Ireland that evening. He looked out over our perfect view of the New York skyline and said, almost inaudibly and possibly to himself, "I can't believe I was in Ireland this morning and now I'm here." Add a pinch more confusion and a dash less amazement, and you have me waking up on the beach this afternoon, the Atlantic Ocean thundering as the waves moved over themselves from my left to my right. The sound is as loud as any outside my window in Brooklyn, but when natural, deafening can be beautiful indeed.

There are so many houses stacked so close to each other on this island, but somehow you feel all alone. It is because each home is surrounded by trees and flowers. Walking from the dock to the home, we passed bamboo growing twelve-feet high and a deer walking down a boardwalk towards the ocean. It is overgrown and it is lovely. And there is something so soothing about listening to the omnipresence of waves in the short distance, something that makes you calm, something that makes you understand. I have been lucky enough, at one point in my life, to experience this constant roll (off Lake Michigan) for any length of time and I have wished since to be able to return to that sound for greater lengths. This week it will be the Atlantic. And I will leave that sound all too soon and return to the screeching and clashing and cranking of Brooklyn. For now I will listen as well as I can. To this.

I find myself missing many people these days. I will listen and try to hear them. I will listen. For them.

1 comment:

butterscotch said...

the ocean is always coming to you, even when you are leaving it.

About Me

David Luke Doody is a freelance writer and editor. He is a founding editor of InDigest Magazine (, an online literary magazine and the blog editor for Guernica Magazine ( His writing and interviews have appeared in those magazines as well as in The Huffington Post,, The Minnesota Twins Yearbook, and Intentionally Urban Magazine, among others.

This is how my nephew loves me

This is how my nephew loves me

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