When the west wind blows…

On Long Beach Island, a barrier island off the southern coast of NJ it means:

hot oppressive heat waves that blow in from the mainland
black biting flies that hitch a ride in for a day at the beach to dine on ankles and toes
searing sand that blisters bare feet on the mad dash to the water
water so cold (the warm water of the gulf stream is also blown offshore) that same blistered feet and fly-bitten ankles and toes turn numb

welcome to the beach on days too hot to really enjoy it
hard to appreciate but it’s true – some days it’s just too hot to go to the beach
this was one of those weekends – two full days when just trying to breathe is a chore

the dog is hiding under a self-built foxhole and is getting good at catching flies mid air
dragonflies dive like kamakaze pilots and take quick rests on any part of your body
sailors stay in port drinking beer with photos of sailboats on the label
hydrangeas wilt and there’s not enough shade for everyone to find a comfortable reading spot

even so, unable to sleep on the second floor of an unairconditioned beach house last night, I was able to hear the waves crashing on shore in the distance and though the sky was hazy all day – the stars were out and I like to think also listening to rhythm of a west wind night

into dunes the last drift of a wave

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