This is the lagoon beside my family summerhouse in New Jersey the morning after Sandy. These shots were taken by a neighbor who stayed. You can't tell bay from yards, and there's an eerie, awful beauty to that soft blue light at six AM. You don't see any stunted bushes or tackle boxes or smashed shingles or any evidence of lousy taste. We always knew that our sweet, down to earth house was vulnerable. Maybe that was one of the things that made us love it more. Fifty-two years without water inside; that in itself is a shock--and lucky, I guess. It couldn't last; we knew that. Water rose--from where? Drywall wicked up the moisture, carpets soaked, papers swelling, curling, crisping, stained. The smell so bad it makes your eyes burn, your nostrils hurt. You have to wear a mask. That doesn't mean we're about to turn our backs on water--we're finally more comic than tragic in our attitudes--but something cold and deep is in my head.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
When I got home from Miami last night, I realized I hadn't seen the ocean during my trip of four days. I saw water, of course: Biscayne Bay, on the way to a writers party for the Book Fair; the straight cut path of the Intercoastal from my dad's balcony. But I wasn't pulled east the way I usually am. In fact, when I took in the sailboat masts across my brother's street I might have tensed. I'll just say I felt it physically, the way the animal in me knew something new. I'm sure I never thought about how close his house is to the bay, how high it sits--or not. I looked over and down. I was calculating. Inches, feet. I was aware of the top of my head.