We enter under the large stone archway marking the entrance to the seaside park. I was not expecting such a grand landmark to the park I possibly visited with my grandparents as a kid. Vague memories of watching old men play bocce ball by the beach start to surface in my mind. As we slowly follow the windy road hugging the shore my husband beings to fondly describe vivid memories of visiting the beach here with his own grandparents.
The park is not crowded; only one softball game is being played, only several picnic tables are occupied by families with small tabletop charcoal barbeques, and only a few children are playing on the playground. As we move closer to one end of the park it becomes clear most people in the park on this evening are in the water to cool off. The swimmers are quiet. The heat is oppressive and most are floating on their backs or resting their arms on something inflatable.
As we drive down past the swimmers, as far as we possibly can to the very end of the road in one direction, the damage from Hurricane Sandy is still visible; debris forcibly woven into chain link fences remains showing how high the water rose and lingered. At the very end of the road it becomes harder to determine if the destruction is from the hurricane or neglect. All that remains of this pier is intriguing and we get out of the car to explore.
The pier is damaged and no longer connected to the road, but it is still standing. The view beyond the pier of the setting sun shining and reflecting off the dozens of sailboats moored in the harbor tethered to buoys created such a tranquil view, a view I had not anticipated. Beyond the boats, the Sound spread before our eyes, with sea meeting sky. I can’t help but wonder what happened to this pier anymore than I can help noticing that the part of it still standing looks sturdy.
As we finished exploring Seaside Park and concluded our drive after dinner, I couldn’t forget about the pier, the view, and the heat. Onecannot forget the heat during a heatwave. The oppressive thick air filled with humidity making it hard to breathe is impossible to ignore this week. But there’s something else I noticed about the heatwave, and it took this drive and the half destroyed pier to make me realize – I noticed the heatwave makes us slow down. The heatwave makes us move less quickly and think differently about everything, from how we socialize to what we eat and how we prepare the meal.
So if you’re like me and dreaming of cooler weather (dare I even say, dreaming of snow!), remember the positive side of this oppressive heat is that we can use this time to slow down. Take a drive, grill a meal, and float in the water with friends and family.