A month ago, I went to “my” beach because Sandy had hit and I felt the need to see the damage myself. This is one of my favorite places on earth. It gives me comfort, I’ve seen it in all moods, I’ve been there in all seasons, it’s a place I go to to decompress, to let time stretch out, to swim for hours, to read and relax. The devastation was mind-blowing. I mean, I knew it would be, but seeing it with my own eyes was a very different matter. Yesterday was a grim day, with freezing rain all day, and I don’t know why, but I drove down there again. I had seen the boardwalk in ruins but I guess … I still wasn’t prepared for the scene at the beach yesterday. The boardwalk has been removed. Only the posts holding it up remain. Mountains of sand have been piled up on the beach to keep the surf from reaching the area. You no longer can get down to the beach. All ramps removed. All buildings removed. There was one little platform, that used to have benches on it, and it stuck out onto the beach – a great place to sit and have coffee. The platform remains but it is now isolated, surrounded by posts and yellow police tape. Giant trucks and diggers moved slowly on the beach doing their work. The drawbridge was up, permanently (it was up the last time I visited too). There was a section of the boardwalk where you could buy ice cream or lunch, and then there was a building with giant glass windows that looked like an old dance hall. The last time I went, that building was, miraculously, still standing. But I guess the boardwalk had become so unstable that they just removed the whole thing. It’s all gone. It was devastating. Sand was still piled up along the street, and everything was blocked off. Cars can no longer get to the beach area.
I knew it was going to be bad. I still wasn’t prepared.