driving up from the beach that final time, at least this year, I feel the need to stop, say thanks and goodbye to this little stretch of sand that has been my companion, why? I just do, maybe I am preparing my mind for the drive home and all that comes with coming back to the world of real, I pass some deer in one of the longer driveways, staring at me curiously, surely they have seen cars before, I mean, I am on a road and they are on a driveway, but deer logic might be different than mine, or maybe they know I am a stranger and can recognize out of state plates as mine surely are, my headlights play games, and look like little flames playing off mailbox reflective markers, the hour is late, not quite dark yet, I should have worn my glasses, but I know this road well, no way this road would be 35 in new jersey, no way man, sweeping sliding turns up through the cliffs with no street lights save for one past where I am going anyway, how I might take such things for granted, you usually don’t see the actual top line of your lights, the exact height, here, always, and your mind screams ‘turn on your brights stupid!’ and of course look out for deer, I do both as the curves and blindspots require, my finger on the hair trigger to turn them off should another car come this way head on, no one does, this night at least, I turn into the last turn at my gate, pitch black aside from a few lights inside one or two houses, the occasional big screen seen, but everything else is dead quiet and sleeping, I treat my car like I am sneaking home on toes after a night out in my teens as to not awaken my folks, I pull in the drive way to park, tomorrow I depart, for home.
vacation… as a creature of habit I do tend to frequent the same places year to year, I like the familiarity, it allows me to truly unplug and drain the old overactive brain from the strain of work and the everyday, this is what I am doing this week, vacate, quite literally, I could feel all the negative stress flow out of me as soon as I arrived and got settled in, my mind is clear, empty, sure, I keep tugs on the tethers of the other life I put on a shelf for a week, almost impossible to totally disconnect, but now this is like a second home, a refuge, I know the town as well as my own @ home, I know the roads, the lands, the turns, the tides, there is comfort in that, and how just super nice people are here, almost surreal, they all wave hello regardless of what is going on, it takes some getting used to but becomes second thumb after not too long, a day or so, I spend the days walking the beach for hours upon hours, there are more birds than people, my crocs in hand I just walk for as long as the encroaching tide allows, kind of like Red @ the end of Shawshank, except I am not looking to find anyone, and I am not a felon, so, besides that it feels the same, I think of the quote Red (Morgan Freeman) says about prison, about the walls being ‘funny’, and I wonder if that applies to my back there life, the walls are there to keep you in but after a while you depend on them, have I constructed my own prison? for comfort, regardless of it is the best I can do for myself or not? and does this show that sometimes you need a place, fictional or otherwise, to step outside yourself and take a look at your life from some other perspective… in a way I think we all know what we are doing wrong or could improve, but sometimes being able to stop the ride and get off provides a clarity like no other, and I am in that space now… wed night, already? I can feel the creeping twinge of anxiety approaching knowing I am halfway through my time here, like all my good porch time I will try to bottle this up somewhere in the corner of my mind , remember the lapping waves of the bay on my feet, all day the subtle roar, walking along the shore, the sweet soreness in my legs from walking in sinking wet sand all day, the occasional encounter with people and their dogs, the little DYI beach houses with kayaks stacked from summers gone, other ones crook and bent from years of storms, neglect and surf, the majestic grey heron that won’t let me get within twenty yards – every year, I wonder what sort of talisman I can create and capture all this charm, to summon when needed later on.
Notes… I am currently in Scientist Cliffs, MD… I come here every year, it is an unique place if you read up on it. I can not say I am roughing it, there is cable internet (upload speed is iffy so I can’t post as much as I really want to photo/video wise)… and a mere fifteen minute drive into town has tons of dining options, and of course the seafood is to die for… crabs crabs crabs… and oysters, if it was possible to OD on oysters I would be quite dead. This is a Covid desert pretty much (compared to New Jersey) but still not totally open, and honestly I am not ready for that either (doing all take out, thankfully all my fave places have been scraping by and are still here… so I tip them well as I have done fine in this covid time money wise). This is a great place for kids also, if you want any info just shoot me a line, I am glad to share.
Experience first light in scientist cliffs, maryland… as I saw it a few days ago… I was staying up on the cliffs about 200 feet above the beach… the sun rises up over the bay, slowly, calmly, the waves are beneath, waiting… put it full screen and breath… and then click to look…
I am by no means a morning person, heck, look at my post times, but that said I made a point to wake up and crawl out into the cold (OK, only 40s), but it was an effort, this just shows me everything, it encompasses everything, it is the why I return to this spot every year, if only for a week, I do consider myself lucky to be able to do so, sure there are tropical paradises all over the world, but this is a mere 4 hour drive from me… and besides that I firmly believe in finding beauty wherever you may go…
If you like my posts, let me know, engage and enrage… or post something nice, maybe you don’t blog, or maybe you do ? I would love to hear from you. thanks … in advance and if you don’t react, well… I forgive you (just this once ya know)…
I am off for the week, thrilled to be in one of my favorite places on the east coast, Scientist Cliffs, MD… Sure, the weather is not being cooperative (rainy) and driving down I got stuck behind an accident on 95 that had the highway shut down to one lane, but there is something about this place that speaks to me, this is not some resort/tourist area (unlike Solomons just south of here, plus this is not far from Washington DC), in fact all the locals think I am nuts when I tell them I am on vacation, some even recognize me as that guy who they see every year around this time (if you read any of my blog you can tell I am a different bird so no news there), I am not near any major city which for someone who lives in the shadow of NYC is a treat (to actually see the stars and even cosmic dust/galaxies @ night).
This area is known for Miocene era fossils, you literally just walk the beach and find shark teeth half the size of your hand (see some I have found here), man, in Jersey I have to dig and sift for hours to get teeth half as impressive, also this is a completely private area populated originally by scientists (um, hence the name) and one of their requirements was that the homes are log cabins (literally), now these days that requirement has relaxed a bit (the people I rent from call the house next door a McMansion – it is more modern and they only come here on the weekends), but for the most part 80% of the homes are log cabins or at least very rustic, the particular place I rent (the only rental actually, everyone else lives here) is about 100 years old and was built by hand by the patriarch of the family I rent from… they left the cabin as is (they raised their kids here), so it is like renting from family, all the old photos, kid’s art etc are all here on the walls including a deer head mounted on the wall, which creeps me out late at night honestly, there are these gnarly paths down to the beach as well (I am 100ft plus feet above the bay – which makes for amazing sunrises – my photos here), so last night was my first night here and I just had to go greet the bay, to hear the sound of the waves crashing up against the cliffs, I love the sound, it really just calms me, as violent as it actually is, such a natural rhythm plus the wind, it doesn’t need to be a summer or warm, just the tide is alright by me, so as I was saying earlier there are these totally crazy paths down to the beach carved out of the ravines hiding in the spaces of the cliffs, so last night I filmed my walk back and posted it on Youtube… someone should film a horror flick here, all I need is some creepy breathing or music.
I usually do not write creatively when I am here, although I have been reborn as of last april (I don’t mean religiously, I just felt different after an event in my life, that’s all). I keep journals on me all the time, my car, my backpack etc. So I kind of expect I will write some stuff, but I am not going to force it, well… that is my goal, all we can do is go forward ya know ?
So anyway, I had a rockfish gyro tonight, I don’t especially like Feta cheese, this had Feta, which, to be honest I could have asked before I ordered it (the dish turned out to be very good), but I wanted to get something different than I usually order @ Stoney’s (seriously the crab cakes are just heavenly), but I will go back and order what I usually do, the neptune platter (an assortment of broiled seafood), of course I racked out first with a 6 pack of raw oysters, and I learned something, they serve raw oysters with:
horseradish (diced up separate)
lots of crackers
So… I love raw oysters (actually I prefer clams) but the crackers threw me… what the hell are they for in this application ? So I asked the bar maiden who told me people eat the oysters on the crackers (I thought maybe they crumbled the crackers over them?)! So strange to me, I have had oysters up and down the east coast from New Hampshire to the Carolinas… I have not seen this particular application, ever, I guess I never paid attention here as I have been coming for years but kind of cast off the crackers… did I try it their way? no… I like to taste the oysters, the brine, the grit, I chew them, I like to know the flavor of the water in which they grew, and in this case they are so mild growing in a bay, I was just recently in Cape May and of course the best oyster there is the Cape May Salts, and they taste of the ocean, which I dig, but these were also great, so clean and light, a little smaller than some but a little Tabasco, lemon, and cocktail sauce on the quick dip, and let them melt in your mouth, that is where it is at… well, at least for me, and well, this is my blog after all… will I try the oysters “their” way.. hmmm maybe, I have to be open but I know what I like, maybe just one out of a dozen I might sacrifice to these heathens…