Indian Summer

A single cold night in mid October ended the summer garden this year.  The thermometer dropped to 23F (-5C) and we abruptly went from balmy sunshine to snow squalls and blackened flowers.  It happens, but since that night we’ve barely had another touch of frost, and the short sleeves have come out again and shorts are back on as play clothes.  What better thing than to go to the beach?

international memorial flight 800

The TWA flight 800 memorial at Smith Point County park in NY.

It was a miserable beach day with showers on the way over and a tropical storm off the coast whipping the surf to a frenzy, but we’re not the sensible types and went through with our plans anyway.  Omi and Opa joined us and we ended up at the edge of the Atlantic on the sands of Smith Point County Park, near the Eastern end of Fire Island in NY.

smith point long island beach

Hardy miscanthus and feather reed grass mixed with yucca and annual purple pennesitum.  The wind kept everything moving and the coastal sun and saltspray keeps things short and tight.

We came for the sand and surf but can never avoid the memorial which stands for the 1996 plane crash which occurred just offshore here.

TWA Flight 800 Memorial

TWA Flight 800 Memorial

The memorial sits down a bit out of the wind and the calm quiet of the memorial is a stark and sad contrast to the panic and fear which must have accompanied the flight’s last seconds.

TWA Flight 800 Memorial

TWA Flight 800 Memorial

I remember the days and weeks after the crash and the weeks of debris washing up and the unease when visiting during that and later summers.  It’s strange to think over 20 years have passed since.

smith point beach in the fall

Even in the fall the Gulf Stream keeps the water warm for weeks beyond the end of summer.  There are miles of empty beach to explore but to some the sand and water are always more fun than walking.

Still it’s a beach trip, and I didn’t intend to make this such a somber post.  We and the kids loved the visit despite the windy sandblasting we received walking to the shoreline, and the clean warm water and sand were just too inviting for the kids to resist…. even if the calendar says fall.

smith point beach in the fall

Mom had enough sense to pass on an October beach trip.  You can tell dad was in charge.

It will be months before there’s any chance of getting back into the water so I was glad for this one last hurrah.  You never know what next year will bring, and the kids grow so quickly.

20 comments on “Indian Summer

  1. Julie says:

    The postman is in shorts here too, the children look so happy and engrossed, its lovely to see such carefree activity. I have just read the words on your memorial stone photograph, I am sure the crash was in the news here too, such a terrible and cruel tragedy.

    • bittster says:

      It was nice to see them run off and enjoy the setting, they tend to get so dull with all the technology around them… All the colors of the flags and the gardens and the beach really woke them up!

  2. Christina says:

    Looks beautiful. Makes me want a trip to the sea.

    • bittster says:

      There’s something that always makes me happy along the shore. The openness and the everchanging give and take of the sea makes for something new on every visit.

  3. I lived on Long Island for the first ten years of my life. I remember many a trip to Jones Beach, bumper to bumper traffic on the way in. I also remember another park that had a really swell playground (at least for that time). But I can’t remember the name of it.

  4. Cathy says:

    It’s very warm here too, and wind is forecast. I love the beach on a windy day. You were right to make the most of it and take the kids for a late dip!

  5. Reminds me of how much our kids used to love to play in the sand. The water definitely took only second place.

  6. It’s really been a memorable fall, hasn’t it? Suddenly cold, windy and rainy here but only scattered frosts that last a night or two. Still a long way from frozen ground.

    • bittster says:

      I believe you missed the early freeze we had. It made quick work of the main foliage color but now the last remnants are really hanging on. I’m ok with every week of winter delay.

  7. Annette says:

    Well done for heading to the beach! How long does it take you to get there? Pretty mean for the frost to blacken everything and then the mild weather to return as so many plants are not that forgiving. Happened to my dahlias which were blackened by just a touch of frost and they were still so full of promising buds and would have bloomed well into November. Hubby and I are planning to go to the highest sand dune in Europe near Bordeaux one day soon. The sea and the light are an irresistible combination for a photographer. Happy weekend, Frank 🙂

    • bittster says:

      That sounds like a fantastic trip! Large dunes and the shore really make for magic…. Not that you don’t already find it in your own garden!
      It’s been so long a warm spell since our freeze that the dahlias have begun to sprout again from the roots. I dug them in order to dry and store them and save them from the trouble of a false spring…

  8. I remember the post-Flight 800 days so well also. We lived right next to the Robert Moses Causeway at the time and could hear and see all the emergency vehicles and aircraft in the immediate aftermath. You’re right … it doesn’t seem as if it was 20 years ago!

  9. Chloris says:

    What a wonderful beach and a lovely image of your children playing in the sand in November. It seems strange that you can go from freezing weather back to this. It is mild here too we have had no frostat all yet.

  10. Fabulous day at the beach…I would be digging and playing with them…I never lost my love for the beach and sand. We did not have anything lower than 29 degrees here and the garden flowers continued to survive and then the garden has slowly faded…so no Indian Summer here…just a long fall.

    • bittster says:

      I looked out the window here this morning and after a full week of leave for work in the dark and return at dusk it was a surprise to see the bare look of winter had arrived. Next week has a string of below freezing nights, still not too bad, but looks like our Indian summer is over.

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