Last Saturday the weather was glorious! A perfect day to get out of the city and take a long leisurely walk along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. I boarded a Long Island Rail Road train at the Woodside Station and forty-five minutes later was in Long Beach. With the sounds of the ocean caressing my ears and the sun warming my face, all of my cares and woes drifted right out sea.
On this October day of blue skies and cool weather the beach was almost deserted as I stepped off the boardwalk at Edwards Boulevard in Long Beach and turned east. The tide was low, so there were a lot of marine “treasures” decorating the shore and the jetty’s rocks were bared revealing tightly clustered inky black mussels, sharp white barnacles and manes of matted green seaweed clinging to the huge boulders.
The receding waters left behind artistic patterns that resembled tree branches, arteries, and licks of flame with little rivulets of water coalescing into crystal braids carving tiny rivers in the wet sand. There were all manner of crustaceans, clams, scallops and fishes along the shore. A variable seafood Bacchanalia and the seagulls were having a merry time of it swooping, screaming and fighting for every salty morsel. I found a lifeless old horseshoe crab with a few dents and missing a tail coated in barnacles and snail shells. I was fascinated by the many pincer like claws and how much it resembled an arachnid. Its helmet like shell glowed in the afternoon sun and I squatted down as close as my camera would allow to capture the details of what was left of this amazing looking creature of the sea. Standing on the shore I let the waves create still life sculptures of the shells. Shooting them in situ as I circled around them to take advantage of the changing light and design that emerged with every new wave.
When I had my fill of the shore I walked further east up toward the dunes of Atlantic Beach. Surrounded by rickety wooden fencing the dunes are covered with tall weedy grasses and plants of which, the roots hold the sands in place and create a mini beach wilderness on top of them. Behind these granular mounds sit pink, yellow and blue summer cottages. Their large picture window eyes looking out at the endless sea with weathered wooden stairways that lead down to the beach. Standing on the top of a dune I looked out at the horizon as a sail boat came gliding along on a shimmering sea of diamonds created by the late afternoon sun. My heart leaped and sighed at this beautiful sight.
On the way back to the train station there was an autumn festival in front of the Long Beach City Hall. There was a band playing popular dance tunes, vendors selling trinkets and food. A man-made pumpkin patch was created for the children to have their photos taken sitting on a plump orange pumpkin. A little petting zoo was set up with a goat, a sheep and about half a dozen chickens who were having none of this “petting stuff” and gathered in a hen like huddle behind a tree totally scandalized, clucking and gossiping about “those silly humans.” I bought myself a candy apple for the ride home and reveled in the sweet texture of the red crunchy coating and the delicious fall flavor of the Macintosh apple. Oh, what a wonderful day!