It only took about ten seconds for a herring gull to snap up a crust from my sandwich. Ten seconds later, two more gulls winged in. Things are tough for sea gulls. The alpha gull chased the other always and waited. I tossed another peace. Bingo! In less than a second, the gull grabbed and swallowed. There’s no time to wait. This is survival. The bird was ultra patient. It hung around for a half hour before it left. No more bread I’m outta here. Looking head on, gulls have huge mouths. They are swallowing machines.
The three of us visited Overlook Beach for lunch, Nancy, my wife, Darrel, and I. I, a tall creative gentleman, live with her in a historic house in Babylon Village. Red haired 63 year old Nancy wore an orange vest and stylish shoes. She always brings her knitting project wherever she goes. Darrel Blaine Ford dresses in black. He also wears a beard, a frosty, white, bushy beard. The beard earns him gas money. He plays Santa and Walt Whitman. And he gets paid for it. At 88 years of age, he is not only a large may, but he is larger than life. There is no one he cannot hold a conversation with. We have been friends for several years. We live in the same neighborhood and stay in touch.
There were two women in bathing suits snuggled up against the building and out of the wind. A few people drove up, idled, and then soon left. One lone fisherman clomped by in hip boots. We were seeing a lot of emptiness; sand, ocean, inlet, bay.
We ate sandwiches in the car while looking at the ocean, Fire Island Inlet, and Democrat Point. Overlook Beach is at the eastern end of Jones Beach. The parking lot was empty. We could hear speeding cars on Ocean Parkway. We also could hear the wind. Strong gusts whooshed through a slightly opened window. The Overlook as with every open space gives us a chance to view the entire sky. There were low clouds in the east, as slowly, we watched high cloud cover move in from the west.
After lunch we decided to take a short walk along the inner edge of dune. The wind played tricks on little blue stem brass which is loaded with fuzz. We could watch the wind speed from this grass. The grass was in seed. I was good to see that this native grass is holding its own with thousands of new seeds ready to be released by the wind. I saw some break off and become whisked by the wind.
We came to a live of picnic tables in storage. A large Austrian black pine blocked the wind. These are the trees planted along the edges of tennis courts. They have stiff, dense needles and thick branches absorbing wind. Accompanying this live tree, a dead one right next to it looked a grotesque Halloween skeleton.back in the early 1950’s, Robert Moses ordered this species of tree to be planted along Ocean Parkway ( speedway). The density of the trees with no other species led to a beetle infestation which killed hundreds.
The life tree had hundreds of pine cones both unopened and opened. I peeked into the edge of a branch. Next years’ needles were bunched together surrounded by little dark football-shaped objects. I broke one off. It was a tiny pine cone ½ inch in size. It looked like a pineapple and a hand grenade. These little cones have already been fertilized and grow next spring.
Wind is king at Overlook Beach. We can see dune formation before our very eyes. Small shrugs called beach heather catch sand grains as they are carried along close to the surface. Each shrub has a windward side and a leeward one.
Before we left, the sunshine reflected off the ocean looked like liquid mercury. Slivers of light came through dips in the dunes. We live only 20 minutes away from this place. It is a paradise of textures,
We were probably the slowest car on Ocean Parkway. Cars sped past us going at least 80 mph. The two bridges offered us unparallel views of Fire Island Inlet and the Great South Bay. We passed 100 feet above two sailboats that bumped and bashes the waves.
One is hard pressed to find a better lunch spot any time of year except summer. Several hundred cars pack the parking lot. The gulls have a much harder time with less space to pan handle.
Tom Stock – this is my blog and I’m proud of it