DISCLAIMER: Open-water swimming is inherently dangerous. Open-water swimmers risk drowning, hypothermia, hyperthermia, heart attacks, panic attacks, cramping, jelly fish stings, fish bites, boat or jet-ski collisions, collisions with floating or submerged objects (including other swimmers), and other calamities that can be injurious, disabling or fatal! The "West Neck Pod" is an informal association of open-water swimmers who swim "outside the lines" with no lifeguard protection, it has no formal membership, organizational structure or legal identity, and its participants, including the author of this blog, make no representations and assume no liability with respect to its group open-water swims. All swimmers who participate in West Neck Pod group open-water swims do so at their own risk. Be careful out there!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

'Snow time like the present....

The second major snowstorm to hit the New York area this winter dropped another 18 or so inches of snow in Huntington this past Wednesday, reminding us that Spring is still a long way off.  By the weekend all of the roads had been cleared, but the gates at West Neck Beach remained closed, the lot unplowed, and the only footprints on the long path to the waterfront were the deers'....until mine.  Homesick for my familiar water-home, I parked outside the gate early Saturday morning and trudged in through the knee-deep snow for a glimpse of the open water and my beloved beach, which looked both familiar and strange in its snowy, icy blanket.  The brilliant sun did little to warm the 19-degree air, and a thin layer of ice extended out from the shore, covering the shallow water of the low tide and the exposed rocks of the jetty to the south.  

The air was still and silent, and except for the flock of geese bobbing in the water just beyond the ice, I was alone....Even the flag was gone from the pole, to be replaced with a fresh new one sometime soon as a result of Rob Martell's importuning the Town on behalf of our faithful, tattered friend (see Rob's story on his new blog at   http://touchsomethingeveryday.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-32-west-neck-beach-essential-friend.html ).   

 Standing there, watching the frozen, shimmering water, with the sun glinting brilliantly off the snow-covered sand, I felt an acute awareness of the cycle of the seasons, and an appreciation of the importance of each season to the whole cycle of life....Having been nurtured and nourished by this beautiful beach and body of water throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall, I suddenly felt ashamed of my growing impatience for a return to warm weather and the open water.  I was reminded that even our Mother needs her long winter's rest, and I cannot begrudge her that....For the rest of this winter season, I resolve to honor and appreciate the winter soul of West Neck Beach and to practice patience as I wait for the days to lengthen, the sun to strengthen and the winter to melt into spring....But I'll be back to visit before then...See you on the Beach!


  1. I was contemplating visiting the beach this afternoon but decided against it. Now that I know the gates are locked I will not attempt it. I am not as gutsy as you are and you would probably find me frozen in the melting snow! But I don't have to go since you provided these delightful photos. Thanks my darling daughter.

  2. Hard to believe we will be there in a few shorts months. I can't wait.

  3. Better buy that full wetsuit and those insulated booties and gloves so we can get back in there in May -- BEFORE Memorial Day this year!!

  4. I have insulated booties, the full wetsuit, no gloves though, but still don't think I'll be in before June! Haven't been to the pool in months either - OWS ruined the pool for me, never want to go back! Can't wait for the spring - maybe with the gloves?

  5. So many Pod people have told me that they just can't get excited about swimming in the pool this post-season....and I'm one of them (of course, these persistent sinus infections don't help, either!). I plan to get back in the open-water as soon as I realistically can! But I'm remembering your blue lips last season...and gloves probably won't help that! Look for water-temperature reports on the new West Neck Pod Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=815520298&ref=profile#!/pages/West-Neck-Pod/128827940504281) so you'll know when it's safe to come back! In the meantime, pray for Spring!