The boardwalk at Rye Beach is a place that is deeply loved by those who know it. It’s worn brown boards are so familiar to me. I’ve heard that is spans a mile back and forth. But I think a large of that is me trying to convince myself that it’s longer when I run there. As a child, going to the boardwalk was almost a daily occurrence. We’d go on walks from our house on two blocks away most of the time with my beagle Molly. Sometimes my brother, sister, and I would take our bikes or rollerblades, but we always, always went. I’ve seen the boardwalk at all different times of day in varying weather. I’ve seen my fair share of deep pinks and oranges meshing with the clouds at sunset. I’ve seen the crisp, gray sky of a winter’s day and the promise of snow. I’ve seen the endless blue of a summer sky when the boardwalk is filled with strangers and visitors looking to the enjoy the beach or Playland amusement park. But my favorite time to go there is on an evening in fall or winer. Perhaps I will see a woman who may or may not have been my neighbor years ago, or the elderly couple that seems to enjoy the boardwalk for all of the same reasons that I do, but sometimes, if I’m lucky, there will be no one there but me. It is amazing to see the vast contrast between the summer months when frisbees fly across the boardwalk and the whine of the choo choo train ride can be heard from blocks away, to the brisk, clear quiet of a fall afternoon when the rusty lock clamps over the entrance to the beach and the lifeguard stands are tipped over in the sand. One my favorite parts of the boardwalk is the smell. Just as the scene changes so drastically in the chaos of the summer to the peacefulness of a quiet October Tuesday on the boardwalk, so does the smell. There is always that clean, lingering smell of salt that tickles my nose and brings back distant memories of summer. However, in the summer the all too familiar smell of Nathan’s french fries and hot dogs eats away at you, mixed with the smell of sunscreen and tanning oil from the group of older ladies who love to set up their beach chairs on the boardwalk and literally bake in the sun. In the fall or winter the smell of the ocean is not polluted with fast food and sunscreen. It stands alone. I often find myself taking longer, deeper breathes to savor the smell of the sea. The boardwalk holds pieces of who I am. As a child, the boardwalk was the path to Playland and excitement would overpower me as I thought about all of the rides I’d enjoy and the carvel and popcorn I would devour. As an older kid my friends and I would go there for walks or bike rides, an escape from home. And today, after moving farther away from the boardwalk, is it where I go to think. Whenever I’ve had a bad day, I’ll get in my car and it’s autopilot to the boardwalk and my old neighborhood. I’ll park and walk along the same sidewalks I did as a child bumping over each crack with my bike. I feel so comforted by the houses that line the street and the beautiful tree that stands rights before the entrance to the boardwalk. The tip of the boardwalk is my favorite spot. You can look over the span of water and see Long Island. It feels as though if you dove in, you could swim to Long Island in a quick few minutes. As a child, I always imagined another little girl looking across at the ferris wheel at Playland, thinking the same thing as me. Home.
30 Minute Writing Assignment January 23, 2012