With so many unpleasant, if not horribly evil, events happening on various continents, there is a dignified calm that hovers over the Hamptons. The beautiful landscapes of this foliage season near the Atlantic Ocean provide a sanctuary.
As we age and gain wisdom from our life experiences, aiming towards a peaceful existence is only natural. The East End is a genuine nesting place to seek solace and a high quality of life. People come out East for a myriad of reasons. Perhaps this has been true since the first settlers arrived at Conscience Point in 1640.
Actually, in the 1630s, the whole East End was a Native American war zone. It was Lion Gardiner who helped make peace between many warring tribes, earning his family Gardiner’s Island in 1639, a year before the settlers arrived, and created the first “Hamptons,” starting with Southampton.
I suppose all it takes is one Atlantic Ocean sunrise or one Gardiner’s Bay sunset to be drawn in and feel the solace and special powers of being on the East End. As a refugee from Westchester and Manhattan, I was drawn here immediately after 9-11. Initially, I was a guest because I never dreamed I’d be around for twenty years. I actually went to the wonderful East Hampton Library and read Henry Hedges’ history of the East End via speeches and writings. It gave me a window into the thinking and habits of those who have lived in the Hamptons for hundreds of years. I was a year-round guest in locations in East Hampton, including Montauk, for almost a decade before moving 17 miles west of the Southampton Town Line to live with the incredible woman who has now become my wife.
Yet, I still keep my sailboat in Gardiner’s Bay on a Three-Mile-Harbor in East Hampton. I have traveled to that boat to sail an amazing 110 days a year for the last 20 years. So, I truly experience lots of sunsets over Gardiner’s Bay every year. I believe sailing in Gardiner’s Bay is my personal form of yoga that is still healing me from the traumas I experienced in both 2000-2001. It was the kindness and genuine soulfulness of the East End folks that helped keep me from going elsewhere all these years. I still say I am a guest and behave accordingly.
The spectacular topography of the East End of Long Island has become my roadmap to a peaceful, easy lifestyle that has taught me to love who I am, where I am, and whom I am with. As another Thanksgiving approaches, we all have so much to be thankful for. Yes, there are moments of tragedy and sorrow, along with various levels of disappointment. One has to believe there are so many more things to be thankful for.
Being in our sixties and beyond, we are entering the long-life phase of existence. In many cases, we have watched our children grow and have children of their own. We have had wonderful, loyal pets who we pampered and loved. Most of all, we have the opportunity to live near one of the world’s great oceans and, I believe, one of the most awesome bays and beaches. The sunrises, the wonderful breezes, and the arresting sunsets are here around us forever. The Native Americans, the settlers, and now guests like me have had the opportunity to know and experience the full moons, the stars, the sunrises, and the sunsets. We can all instantly recall a particular moonlit sky, sunrise, or sunset that still stands out in our minds. I know I can. For example, a moonrise at Atlantic Beach with the moon being very orange and as wide and big as I have ever seen it in all my years. It looked as large as Jupiter as it slowly crept over the ocean horizon. No one said anything; we all just stared until it was completely over the horizon.
Not only this Thanksgiving but every day, please stop to look around and feel the gift of being alive in the moment on the East End and feel thankful. We are all here because it is special.