A mild November day, five weeks after Hurricane Sandy. I walk the shoreline in Rockaway Beach as I do several times a week, every season of the year.
My walk does not feel as therapeutic or serene as it usually does. How could it? The storm’s devastation is inescapable. If I glance toward where the beach walls once stood, I see rubble. The once stately homes along the beach now hang like cardboard boxes.
I feel a terrible sadness, and so I will myself to look only at the ocean, to concentrate on the rhythmic beauty of the waves — and how in spite of everything it still feels like my old, dear friend.
And then I see them. Three heads bobbing, three wetsuits, on three surfboards — surfers catching waves in the near distance. In that moment I know that NOTHING can destroy the “Rockaway spirit,” and that this community of gritty, unpretentious ocean-lovers will rebuild, renew and be more beautiful than ever.
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