It hit a balmy, unseasonable 86 today. Aside from the fact that it was a full 20 degrees lower just up the road and over the bridge at the beach, we enjoyed ourselves by pretending it was really Summer and not a very warm day in April. The kids and I took the 10 minute drive from our home to the boardwalk, loaded up the basket of the "great big double stroller" and made like it was July.
If you ignore the aforementioned temperature shift, the metal gates still pulled down over the majority of boardwalk businesses, and the lack of crowds, merely being there in our shorts and t-shirts made Summer seem real. There is something about the Jersey shore - particularly this area of it with the boardwalk's rides, food and games - that one must experience personally to understand the pull it can have or how it personifies Summer.
There is a smell of Summer and on warm Spring day like today, you can smell it. Its not something you can adequately image but I suppose I can try to describe it. Its the meshing of salty-ocean air, pizza, peppers and onions, taffy and suntan lotion. It sounds like something that might offend your nose, but it's not. Its summer. Its coco-butter and ocean breezes. Its soothing to the soul still raw from one too many days below freezing.
There's a taste of summer. The salt air settles on your lips. It does so mingling with any boardwalk treats you may choose to partake in (although today we did not partake in anything).
There is the feel of summer. The sand beneath your toes when you leave the boardwalk behind and hit the beach itself. There's the thud of a sandal-clad foot on wooden slatted walkways. There's the button on the game wheels you press into your finger tip and the hard, brown ball you roll up the skee ball ramp knowing that no how many tickets you win this round it'll only garner you some cheap plastic trinket.
There is the sound and sights of summer. The wheel workers hawking their game. "Hey Mom! Why not win the little ones a toy! One win choice! Come on!" There is the blinking and whirling of the arcade. The bells and whistles. But above of all there is the power and the elegance of the Ocean itself. The sounds of water crashing upon itself, as well as on the rocks and shells its already beaten down to form grains of sand. Its the beautiful shades of blue and green that make up each wave - toped by white froth. Its the rides that will soon move to life with squeals and laughter. Its my home. Its my sanctuary...and today it was alive.