I drove down to the Shore yesterday. It was an odd-number day so I could fill up my tank. I had to go to my beach. I had to see it. As horrible as it was, I am glad I saw the destruction (which is almost total) with my own eyes. This is one of my favorite places on the planet. I needed to see it, be there with it. If you have seen all of my beach pictures, you will recognize this. I made a point of driving down there the day before the storm. Although I was prepared intellectually, it still was totally horrifying to see it in person. The boardwalk sheared away, sand piled up across the street and down the block, covering the grass – basically the entire beach had moved, pushed through the boardwalk, barreled across the street, and continued to rush down into the neighborhood. The boardwalk is in ruins. The giant sea wall on the road-side, behind the boardwalk, is gone. Houses have disappeared. There are empty lots now. The jetty survived and people were out there fishing, which did my heart good. Lampposts tilt drunkenly on sheared-off pieces of boardwalk. The beautiful benches, each with a donated name plaque on the back, were broken, piled up on mountains of sand, or sitting randomly facing any which direction on the broken pieces of boardwalk. The public restroom, which sat on the boardwalk, where I would change into my bathing suit if I hadn’t already, was completely lifted off the boardwalk and flown backwards into the street. The roof was ripped off. Unbelievably, the pier stretching out into the ocean survived. Nothing else did.