it’s special for so many reasons - as a barrier beach five miles off the coast of long island, it takes only an hour to get there from our house (30 minute drive, 30 minute ferry) but feels like worlds away. this is mainly because there is no driving anywhere on the island in the summer season, only walking and bikes and of course the ubiquitous red wagons. it’s a place where, regardless of new construction and a surge in summer share houses, it feels pretty much the same now as it did the first summer i was there, the summer of 1991.
i discovered my love for taking pictures there and the photos i have taken over the years (unfortunately not digital) have become emblematic of the experience - rows of red wagons, swimmers in the bay, waves on the powdery sand, and deer walking along the shaded paths from the beach to town. the photos hang in my house and my parents' house and are silent reminders all year long that such a place exists, and will always be there to return to.
in the early years, my siblings and i sold our wares alongside other kids in town (painted seashells, string bracelets, muddily tie-dyed t-shirts we slaved over all winter), and now we’re the customers of today’s fire island kids. now i walk along the streets with my husband mitchell who initially resisted fire island as an annual vacation spot, but came around and after being there for about three hours declared it "the most special place on earth." and that was only one summer after i convinced him to try flip flops. he's an adaptable fellow, that mitchell.
what's most lovable about fire island is the speed at which life moves, from when you step off the ferry to when you leave – “live slow” is the island's mantra. everyone does their own thing and all feels well in the world. i expect my week to be filled with lots of sand and sun, early evening beach time, plenty of sunblock, naps, mixed grill and lobster dinners, plenty of fruit and vegetables, prosecco, reading, walks, james taylor music, sunsets, board games, outdoor showers and maybe a pina colada or two.
i have a stack of fresh magazines, some books and coconut lip balm to spare. see you in a week, if not before.
originally posted 7/12/09
photos are from www.fireisland.com