View from the beach

I grew up on an island—a well-connected island. Newport lies a the southern end, and Portsmouth, where I grew up, is at the north. In between, you guessed it, is Middletown. How perfectly New England. I’ve come to realize, though I didn’t in my teens, that one advantage of growing up on Aquidneck Island was that it developed the “long view.” Of course, there were hamlets and farms, churches and clam shacks nearby, but iy was easy to look up and over—to the water that stretched to other islands, to bridges and boats making connections, to dreamscapes that were just over the ever-changing horizon. Now I live in a landlocked valley. The mountains of central Pennsylvania  with their diagonal orientation and their crests and valleys may resemble rollers crashing onto an upland beach, but rather than drawing the imagination away from the everyday, they tend to focus it on “the narrow round.” That’s why I need the beach, at least once a year. I need the reminder that there are adventures that follow the sun’s path across the ocean, that there is more to life  than I can see when my vision is blocked by mountains or trees or the limits of the here and now.

Looking onward

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