I’m never at a loss to marvel at the deeply rooted sense of wonder we humans have at the sight of a vast expanse of ocean. Is it a cross generational pan-speciotic sense of respect? Is it an intrinsically rooted post evolutionary sense of looking at our chromosomal and biochemical origins in the water? Is it the sheer monstrosity and vastness of BILLIONS of gallons of salty liquid that humbles us and gives us a sense of our true significance (or INSIGNIFICANCE) in the universe?
I dunno… but I do know that it’s fun as all fuck to throw rocks into waves at the beach.
I went up to my Aunt’s place (actually my Dad’s first cousin, which I GUESS makes her a cousin, but we’ve always called her “aunt”) up in Long Island, NY. My folks and Donna and I all drove up and had a really GREAT time hanging out with the entire family. All of the cousins were there, and all of the cousins kids, and the weather was perfect and the setting was lovely and the food was great and we all had a super nice time. (My family is of the strange and apparently rare kind that gets along with itself and ENJOYS ITS OWN COMPANY. I hear HORROR stories about my friend’s family experiences, and I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve always looked FORWARD to family gatherings. Weird eh? Anyway…) As the evening concluded, and we were getting ready to leave, my Dad suggested that we quickly drive over to the north Long Island shoreline, seeing as it was less than 3 minutes away from the house. I had never BEEN to the beach by my Aunt’s place, and since the sun was setting, we thought we’d catch a few minutes of natural light show before venturing on to the suffocating cluster bomb of death that is the Long Island Expressway.
As we pulled up to the shore, the sun was still JUST peeking out over the horizon, and the crimson projection was just dazzling. I guess the beach at this location is (geologically speaking) relatively young, so there isn’t a lot of sand, but there are TONS AND TONS of perfectly smooth, perfectly rounded stones lining the shore. You know the kind of stones I’m talking about: these are the almost translucent, smooth, pink, grey and orange stones that you shell out a buck a piece for at places like GREEN DREAMS: The Snooty Plant Emporium and Sally's Sea Shore Soap Shop and Really Smelly Candle Hut. Well- the entire shoreline was just LACED with these stones (about eleven pounds of which both my Mom and Donna brought home) and they were absolutely PERFECT for skipping.
So now picture this- Four adults ranging in age from 35 to 66 are all standing on the beach (all dressed up, with me in a suit, natch) eagerly skipping stones into the ocean and giddily responding to both the multiple skip tosses (“ohh! Three skips… WOW FIVE!”) and to finding perfectly flat stones to throw (“lookit THIS one! PERFECT!”).
It was pretty cool.
At one point there was what appeared to be a rail road tie floating about 30 yards off shore. For some reason my Dad and I decided that we HAD to hit this thing with a rock, on the fly. It was our MISSION. (The tie was a five by five inch column, and about four feet long, so NOT the easiest thing to hit at 30 to 40 yards.) The next few minutes were devoted to closer and closer near misses that never scored a direct hit. (Poop.) I have to say the old man and I were pretty spot on, constantly coming within a yard of hitting the damn thing. The ladies would feed us rocks until the appeal of the challenge wore off, and they started walking towards the car. My Dad and I took our final shots, and just couldn’t seem to connect. At that point it didn’t really matter though, because we had both been transported (if only for a few seconds) to a timeless place where boys are completely content throwing rocks into the ocean, and would rather be no where else in the world.