Life at the shore: splendor on the beach during fall and winter
Looking back over a lifetime in the legal profession and the complex world of politics, I realized that what has actually brought me the most happiness are a few, simple pleasures. One of them is seeing my beautiful wife, Liane, smile. Another pleasure, more accessible to the general public, is to walk on our beautiful Atlantic County beaches in the autumn and winter months.
An early morning stroll at water’s edge in the “off-season” fills me with a powerful sense of being one with the earth and the sea, a sense which cannot arise in the noisy swirl of summer visitors and their radios and iPods.
While the air may be chill and the wind brisk, the beach in fall or even winter offers an unspoiled wilderness of waves where one can be alone with the universe. Embraced by the ocean’s roar, buffeted by an off-shore breeze, engulfed in a sky slowly changing to a luminous blue, I gain a profound perspective on all of life. The fresh smell of the sea and its never ceasing roar awaken primal feelings which the inane noise and bustle of modern life have otherwise buried.
I stare at footprints in the sand, imagining what or who has made them, pondering that some rise before dawn to leave their ephemeral marks upon the shore.
The birds, which fill the sky or hop over the sand have no fear of humans but accept us as harmless fellow journeyers on this blue world spinning among the stars.
Please take my advice and leave your ear buds home and welcome instead the call of those myriad shore birds, their song unchanged for millions of years. Join with me in quietly hunting for pretty shells, a simple joy we first develop as children but retain through our “mature” years.
Occasionally, as we perambulate, we will see a patient fisherman, nod to him as we pass, knowing that there are a precious few others savoring this unique scene. The fisherman knows the value of persistence and of an inner calm, waiting for nature to reward his lonely vigil.
In the morning twilight, ruminating on all these thoughts, the lines of William Wordsworth’s poem “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood” fill my mind. You may remember them from the classic movie “Splendor in the Grass,” starring a fresh-faced Warren Beatty and a beautiful Natalie Wood as young lovers destined to live apart.
What though radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find Strength in what remains behind. . .
Lloyd D. Levenson is Chief Executive Officer of the Atlantic City-based law firm Cooper Levenson and Chairman of the firm’s Casino Law Departments in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. Mr. Levenson may be reached at (609)344-3161 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.