Years back, Lauren Bacall was standing on the Bay Street stage talking about her movie, “Murder on the Orient Express,” when she blurted out with Shakespearean emphasis, “Time that enemy of us all !” The audience seemed puzzled then slowly seemed to understand exactly what Bacall just said. As sixty-something folks the concept of time is on our minds more. How often do we all feel like Dorothy of the “Wizard of Oz” starring at the huge hourglass watching the sand descend from the top glass enclosure to the bottom one? As you get older time does become a more precious commodity. We are all on a personal clock.
However, on a hot summer’s day while on an east end beach there is no clock ticking, just the sun eventually setting. There are sunrise people and sunset people. If you have a pet dog, you get to see the sunrise quite often with the morning walk. I fondly remember walking my dog in Montauk during the morning sunrise over the ocean the few years I lived in a Ditch Plains trailer. It was powerful with the seagulls, the waves, and the different coast line of either sand or rocks that happens there daily. My dad who loved to fish off Montauk actually said on his last day of life, “If only I could see one more Montauk sunrise.” Then, there I was walking the shores of Montauk watching the sunrise every morning thinking about my dad and how badly I sometimes treated him. Now I realize I was just in fact trying to make him proud. I not a praying type of guy, but there are times I feel very spiritual things that stir me.
The passing of time is a paradox on the east end. Sometimes driving a short distance seems to take forever and then there are other times when you arrive at your destination way early. Traveling the backroads of the east end is an acquired skill for tourist, yet navigating those long twisting roads it is as natural as breathing for the locals. Even after 17 years of traversing the east end daily I am still learning things about the back roads proving the saying, “you were either born here or you are not really from here.” On the east end, over time you appreciate the “here” so very much more.
Now later in life as a sixty-something grandfather, I have become a sunset guy. I am fortunate to see so many extraordinary sunsets while sailing out on Gardiner’s Bay. They are all different and special. I can’t totally put into the right words precisely the power of the feeling and thoughts that race through my mind when I look at the sky celebrating the end of the day with a huge display of color and cloud arrangement. I can’t help but feel the souls of everyone who ever lived up there participating somehow including the souls of those who are yet to be born. To me the east end sunsets are that powerful. The sunsets will go on forever and in forever there are no clocks ticking.
Living, working, raising your family or even just vacationing on the east end is unique. Some of the oldest towns in America never seems to lack an influx of new people along with the building of new style homes to blend with what was already here for generations. It is a mix that makes a magic energy. Farm stands in front of farmsteads, cornfields right off ocean beaches, Roads with homes with big old trees are all part of the equation. Everybody knows what they like and everybody knows where they like to be, so on a summer’s day, with that gentle ocean breeze cooling you down, you don’t look at your watch, you just watch.