There are some people who have never been to an ocean. In Ocean Grove we are lucky. We can walk to the Atlantic. We can hear the waves, feel the sand between our toes, and we can smell the salt air. There’s something comforting and mesmerizing about being at the ocean, even when it is roiling and threatening. It can be like watching some beast at the zoo, but you feel safe, and you want to be there. That’s why people can be seen walking on the beach in the middle of a blizzard or as a n’or easter approaches.
When we get company we always say to them, “You’ve come to visit us here, so you must visit the ocean.”
We walk down there in October and then we walk on the boardwalk and look at the lookers walking our way. That’s the big sport: watching everybody else. Some of these beach towns are honky tonk, so you can play miniature golf or ride a merry go round, but mostly, in the Grove, you walk. There’s something therapeutic about being near an ocean, even if you don’t actually go in it.
Now it’s October, and the beach front is still busy — in fact, some Grovers still swim every day. Children still beg to go there, and now you can take your dog.
So don’t let the ocean become wallpaper for you. Remind yourself to go visit it — frequently — even though summer is over.
SOUNDTRACK: Here are the Beach Boys with a song about hope. Being by an ocean has a way of promoting hope.