My refuge. My hiding place. My little piece of heaven. These are the thoughts that cross my mind when I think of Ocean City, New Jersey. It also takes me right back to how blessed I am to even have a place like this that I can go to when I am in desperate need of some R&R. The beach house was inherited by my grandparents from some aunts a long time ago, and it has since then survived through many hurricanes, plenty of house guests, and even been torn all the way down and fully rebuilt 5 years ago.
About a week ago it had a... let's call it "unwelcome" visit by the infamous Hurricane Sandy. News kept pouring in about the devastating effects of "Sandy" on the Jersey shore, and of the blackouts in New York City. Thankful that my grandmother had the good sense to get out of there just 2 weeks prior to its fateful visit. As it turns out, the island is only a couple miles wide, so waves have a tendency of going in through one side and out the other. It doesn't look good for properties that are standing in the way of the ocean's rage. One of those, being the one that I hold so close to my heart. The island had pretty much been evacuated (with the typical few insane people who refuse to go) and authorities wouldn't allow anyone back on the island for a couple days, to prevent crime rates from skyrocketing. In the midst of all of this and not even knowing if the house was still standing, it appeared that New Yorkers hadn't been the only ones left in the dark. Excuse the metaphor.
I quickly found myself thinking back to all the times that I have met friends there as my personal favourite rendezvous spot. Heart-to-heart conversations. Baking cookies with my grandmother. Waking up for sunrise. Shopping at the board walk. The double shot. Judging the daily weather based on if you can see Atlantic City in the distance. Running on the beach. Talking walks with God. Pictures on the walls of generation after generation of awkward teens (that I've only ever met as adults) fully ready for a beach day. My pathetic lack of success at tanning. Reading to the sea breeze. The family mural, where each grandchild adds a drawing to the beach scene. Falling asleep to the sound of the waves crashing in the distance.
Again, feeling incredibly blessed.
For about a week we wondered if we had been robbed from all of this. If all we would be left with were the memories of what had once been. If we had only known then, maybe we would have stayed a little longer. Tried a little harder to take it all in. To remember everything. And now... what? Well I sat home and finally started going through the hundreds of pictures that had been patiently waiting to be edited in a folder called "Pending." Just so you know, most of these haven't been colour-corrected at all.
So I sat and waited, and this is what I found.
Sunset Beach, Cape May.
A couple days ago we were informed that a neighbour managed to get back on the island and check everything out. We were also told that there was absolutely no damage done to our house. Praise God!
Now I look at these pictures and smile, thinking of all the memories that are still to come. :)