Since it was a beautiful sunny Sunday this past weekend, I thought I would do what I always love to do on days like these: Hop on my bike.
Maybe that day I could somehow get some positive pictures of all that devastation and sadness that has been surrounding us since the invasion of Sandy. Hopefully, maybe I'd see some progress being made at getting our beautiful beaches somewhat back in order.
So off I went.
I brought my iPod, but this time, I did not keep it on long. Once I made it over the canal bridge I turned the music off. I just wanted to be able to hear everything clearly today.
As I made it all the way to the Point Beach Boardwalk this time, I felt that was at least a good sign. The roads were not all blocked anymore. It was one of those days that was breathtakingly beautiful. Here I was, taking pictures of our beloved old and, sadly, crushed golf buildings, and ripped up boardwalks.
Yet, there was such a beautiful calming, an almost mesmerizing effect that the ocean always has. There were no large waves. It seemed that if you just looked straight ahead at the water, everything was fine.
It sure didn't look like it could have completed the mass destruction it had, because it was one of those days where you could take your kids down to the water to look for shells and sea glass. It was a cloudless blue sky with warm November sun. It's really so hard to understand how something that takes our breath away with its beauty could also cause the intense pain and anguish that it has.
It's like we want to be angry with it, but we just can't. Its just one of the most difficult parts that comes with living where we do.
I made my way down Ocean Avenue and tried to take in everything I saw. I have ridden my bike, walked, run and driven down this road and all our local streets thousands of times, but I never really looked at them like I did that day.
I saw the muddy, greasy, sandy residue on this road. Within that was just so much broken glass and just shards of so many different things.
There were still large piles of people's destroyed belongings. I saw some of the damaged small businesses, too, including one of my favorites, The Sand House. The building itself looked good, still standing strong, but it looked like everything was emptied out.
As I turned back south, the thought that has been in my head, since my last ride with my husband, was about Osborne Avenue in Bay Head. I was hoping it was, at the very least, better.
So I headed back that way and when I reached the west end on Bay Avenue I met the National Guard and asked them if it was okay if I rode down and took a few pictures. I really thought the answer would be, "No," but thankfully, and surprisingly, they said, "Yes," and it was not a big deal at all. Which made me feel good.
That meant that things had to be better than last Wednesday.
As I rode down my favorite street, my heart still hurt. All the charming homes that, to me, are "the beach" had all their belongings piled outside.
However, on a happier note, that massive mountain of sand that we saw last week was gone. The road was plowed and Route 35 was visible as well. Even the traffic light was back on. It almost looked normal
As I looked past 35, up to the beach, I couldn't help but notice the loss of the wooden steps and platform on East Avenue, where all of us stood at some point in our lives growing up here. I can't imagine if there's any of those left at any of the beaches, but for me, it's the picture I had in my mind as I rode up Osborne Avenue.
When something is missing from the picture, it just doesn't look right. At least, though, things look better. Progress is being made, even if it is nowhere near what all of us are hoping for.