Monday, August 22, 2011
Fire Island. calm
It seems as if we always end the summer on Fire Island. I'm not entirely sure why this is, but it has become a family ritual since Kate was small. Once we stayed in a room above a Chinese restaurant on Ocean Beach. Now we stay with friends.
There are a mated pair of swans at Fair Harbor and we see them every year. Sometimes they have cygnets. Other times they do not. This year they didn't. A few years ago Larry and I went out for a weekend alone (someone lent us their house) and we saw that the female swan had been left alone with the cygnets and she seemed to be searching for her mate. Every day we went down to the dock to see if he had returned and every day she was alone. On our last day just hours before we were to leave we went down one last time. We knew we'd be disappointed and saddened by what we saw and we were. We sat, sipping our coffee on the dock, seeing the female swimming alone. Then suddenly she made a noise. A loud, flapping noise. We looked up and in the distance we saw a swan, swimming towards the dock, and the female raced across the surface of the water to greet him. It was truly a greeting, as any human who loved someone would.
This year the couple had no babies with them this year. But then neither did Larry and I. Still we hung out at the dock as we always do. It is nice to have rituals. For holidays, for the major events in our lives, and for the end of summer too.
One ritual that's come to mean a lot. As my ferry, Voyager, was pulling away, children leaped from the dock. It's a superstition. If the children jump from the dock, you'll be back next year.