Me when I was a sultry age 14.
The beach in N. Wildwood was small
and high tides often washed into the street.
Today this same beach is at least a half
mile wide and the city has tram cars to
take beach goers closer to the ocean.
Such is the power of nature to either
give or to take away.
Now, what I miss about NuJoisey.....
Thunder storms. Watching a sudden storm approach across the ocean
or Delaware Bay. The excitement and fear of racing across the bay
to reach safe harbor before the storm. Ball lightening. St. Elmo's Fire. The tingle of a close lightening hit and the exciting relief that it missed me. Walking in a downpour on a warm day and splashing in the puddles like a child. The smell of rain after a dry week. The quiet after a storm, especially in the Great Cedar Swamp or on a deserted beach.
Sitting on the porch with a panoramic view of the sky watching nature's fire works.
Winter ice storms where even the smallest weed became a diamond
creation. When my weeping birches would gracefully bend to the earth under the weight of the ice but spring back on the first sunny day. Running and sliding like a child down the pavement. Icicles.
Snow. How it quieted the harsh noise of civilization. Walking at night during a gentle snow fall. Walking in the woods after a fresh snow looking for animal tracks. Snow covered trees and shrubery. The refreshing feeling of accomplishment after shoveling the walkway.
Fall colors. Watching the decidious world return to life in the spring.
Crocus popping up through the snow. The first daffodill. The first
Jersey tomato. Picking wild blueberries. Sasafras tea. Pick it yourself strawberries, string beans, apples and peaches. Tree ripened peaches.
Perching on a sand dune watching a nor'easter storm ravage the beach. Spending endless hours walking through sand dunes shielded
from the winter wind. Conk shells. Sand crabs scurring in the shallow
waves. Catching flounder and weak fish and eating them the same day. Blue claw crabs. Walking along the Deleware Bay during horse shoe crab spawning and flipping over the ones on their back so they could return to the bay. Bird migrations in the fall across the bay.
Jake. When all of my friends were on the beach I would wander off and walk for hours through the dunes and along the sand bars in Angle Sea. Jake was an old man who I often met during my solitary expiditions. He taught me of nor'easters, hurricanes, how the sea and the sand worked in harmony to ceasely resculpure the landscape. Once we met on a sand dune during a mild hurricane and sat for hours watching the fury of the wind and the sea. When I was 17 I could no longer find Jake. I never knew his last name or where he lived but this lovely old man taught me to love and respect the sea. Each spring I would return to Angle Sea to see the grand castles that the sea tore down and rebuilt during the winter.
Then came the bulldozers, condo's on the beach, and the sand bars and dunes ceased to exist. Sea walls were built to protect mankind's bastardation of the beach. But slowly through the years the sand and the sea built back what man destroyed. And once again the sand in
N. Wildwood and Angle Sea is again in control. I have not returned for the past 10 years. I must go back again.
Knowing the trails through the woods and the swamps so well that I could walk them on a moon lit night without a flash light. The albino opussum that lived in my window well. The albino skunk who visited my campsite nightly. The pine snake who returned to live under my stoop every spring. Giant spider orbs glistening with morning dew. Being one of the few humans who witnessed a pair of bald eagles send one of the offspring off for the first time to fend for itself. A three hour symphony of calling back and forth, then total silence as the young eagle sat alone in the top of a tree. Then see that young eagle return to the same tree the following spring, still without it's white feathered head. And finally finding where it established it's new territory and lived for several years.
Other things I miss. Dietz and Watson hot dogs. Artery clogging Philly steaks and subs. Barrell pickles. Jersey tomatoes and peaches. Real Italian bistro's. Broadway in NYC and Broad Street in Philly. The hysterical but harmless rudeness of Philadelphia sports fans. Ethnic neighborhoods side by side in harmony. Collecting eggs from the chicken coop for breakfast. Putting on the pot of water before picking sweet peas and Jersey corn. The smell of fresh cut grass.
The list could go on and on. But still, I am now here on the other pond and now my list of what I love about the west coast continues to grow.
And I do not miss shivering in the damp cold winters of NJ, chipping ice off the windshield, water in the basement, crab grass, and most of all,
I do not miss NJ mosquitoes, deer ticks, green head flies, strawberry flies and gnats. I often called my summer abode on the edge of the Great Cedar Swamp "Paradise with Flesh Eating Insects".