Time knows no boundaries, it always marches on. Being sixty-something is not nearly quite the same. In a lifetime there are sounds that you hear that conjure up the best memories. I call them the sounds of a lifetime, things such as your baby daughter’s laugh, the gulls at the ocean, the song of the ospreys in their nest, your dog whimpering or even the LIRR train whistle as it speeds buy.
In the Hamptons there are so many sounds I have enjoyed and collected in my brain that conjure up great memories. Here are some samples.
1) The Montauk Lighthouse Fog Horn. Living in Montauk the 4-5 years was special. The Montauk Lighthouse is always a welcoming beautiful sight. However I believe the foghorn is its signature sound. If you have heard it you will understand my reasoning. Hearing that at sea coming back from a fishing trip is comforting. Hearing it while visiting the Lighthouse is not as comforting but oh so memorable. Seeing the Montauk Lighthouse surrounded in fog is forever memorable as is the loud fog horn blasts. Memories of walking my dog at Camp Hero hearing the Montauk foghorn is with me even though old Bo, my loyal beagle, has now long passed on.
2) The Shelter Island Ferry – Both North Ferry or South Ferry. After you board the Ferry, you hear the gate close and click being secured. Then you hear the big powerful diesel engines fire up. After that you hear literally nothing else as you take that short ride from either Fork to and from Shelter Island. I love that ferry ride. I almost always get out to feel the trip. Years back when I had both my beagle and a convertible VW Cabrio I would stand up on the seats and enjoy the views while hearing those massive engines roaring! Definitely a Hamptons sound.
3) The Crashing Waves of the Ocean. The sound of waves breaking on the ocean beaches of the Hamptons is church-like. It has a power that stirs all souls. You can feel the loud crashing power of a breaking wave pounding its curl into the beach after rolling in from so far away. I still stand there staring mesmerized as I did as a child over sixty years ago. The sound of the ocean has stirred souls as long as man has existed on earth. All visitors and residents of the Hamptons make pilgrimages to the beaches to partake in the ocean experience. The roaring sounds of the waves is the essence of the experience.
4) Seagulls Early in the Morning. Waking up to the sound of seagulls greeting the morning first sunlight is a definite memory from my Montauk Ditch Plains living experience. So very often I had to be out with my beagle for his morning business at the actual sunrise moment over the ocean. Living exactly 435 steps from the breaking ocean waves at Ditch Plains beach was unique as that beach was my dog park. The morning surfers rising above the ocean waves in the first sunlight was cool. Watching and hearing hundreds of seagulls rising from the ocean in unison gulling loudly celebrating the sunrise was a religious experience. If you have had that moment you totally understand. It is my fondest Montauk experience and even the beagle would stop to watch and listen. It is a truly living on the East End treasured experience for all of us.
5) The Sounds of Wind Filling the Sailboat Sails. For me, this is the most special. Being retired sailing is what I do. Every time I set my sails, the first wind cracks the sail as it taughtly fills to form that beautiful curved sail set. I love the feel of the boat being lifted by the just unfurled sail catching the wind. I then enjoying the many sounds my old boat makes as it gathers momentum to navigate yet another day of Gardiner’s Bay sailing. It’s a sound all sailors know, love and experience. The very first time I sailed my sailboat solo in Gardiner’s Bay and heard the sail fill with wind it changed my life so much for the better.
I hope these memories of these specific references of listening to the sounds of the Hamptons conjured up some pleasant thoughts for you as they have for me. I am writing today’s column from my holiday in Chamonix, France at the first morning light on the Alp mountain peaks – yet I am remembering the sounds that make the Hamptons so special to me. I love the East End of Long Island.