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Persistence pays off

So, here I am, still in Brigantine, NJ, where for two days we have stayed through the worst nor'easter in recent memory - one that involved a declared state of emergency and evacuations in some areas (although thankfully, not here). We lost power for a grand total of, what, 8-1/2 minutes yesterday - just long enough to find and light some candles, then blow them out.

This morning, a miracle: the rain was gone, the wind was down to something like 10 m.p.h., and, eventually, a bit of watery sunshine made its way through the clouds, burning off the lingering fog. After lunch, Angela and I headed outside for an actual walk. We went to the nearest beach access path to find that it was mostly underwater. We went to the next one up the beach, which we knew had an elevated wooden causeway. We got there and walked to the end of the elevated part, only to discover that the stairs led to a massive puddle nearly deep and wide enough to swim laps in. We decided to see if there might be another access point in the third development up the way and lo!, there was. And the path was mostly clear until we could see the ocean, at which point we began picking our way slowly through something that looked like (and undoubtedly was) sea-demolished bales of straw, no doubt set there in the path as a sort of levee. Those levees were unsettling to walk on, I can assure you, and by the end we were perilously close to walking in the forbidden dunes, but we persevered and made it to the beach.

There we were, on the sand, watching waves roll in (nowhere near as high as the past few days, although now that high tide is approaching, they are once again impressive - from a distance, no less!) and sandpipers skittering about at the water's edge, along with a few fat gulls standing watch or gliding low along the shallows. We walked a ways along the beach, south past where we were staying, since we knew those two accessways to be, well, inaccessible, to the fourth path, which was clear pretty much the whole way. There was evidence that it, too, had had strawbale levees smashed and carried inland (and out to sea) by the recent tempest, but it was drier still than the one on which we'd come.

In beach walking, as in writing or seeking publication, persistence pays off. Keeping going to find a way onto that beach or into the story can be challenging, and you may get muddy or acquire wet shoes or some burrs along the way (Angela sure did - maybe because she was wearing track pants instead of jeans?), but once you find your way there, it can be such a wonderful place. The trick is to keep going, to keep searching for that access you need, or the proper story opening, or the right word to make that poem sing, or that enthusiastic agent or editor who is willing to champion your work. The trick is also to pay attention and notice when the path you're on is going wrong - when the boardwalk is sinking into the mire (true story from today) and the water is bubbling up through the nailholes, it's time to turn back and try something new. There's a difference between carefully picking your way along a 40-foot stretch of destroyed wet straw bales (difficult, but not dangerous) and walking along planks that you know are going to sink you if you keep going ahead (possibly dangerous and definitely stupid).

So, stay alert, heed your gut instincts, but whatever you do, keep going. Because as I said before, when you get there, it's worth it.


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( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 14th, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC)
Nov. 14th, 2009 11:35 pm (UTC)
Tomorrow it may actually stay sunny, which will make for a very nice change of pace from all the grey!
Nov. 14th, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC)
Very. Would like to see some pictures of that as well.
Nov. 15th, 2009 04:32 am (UTC)
I'll see what I can do!
Nov. 14th, 2009 11:18 pm (UTC)
Glad you are safe & glad you got to the ocean! Those nor'easters can be brutal. And, you are right about the writing!
Nov. 14th, 2009 11:35 pm (UTC)
Keep on keepin' on, as the bumper sticker says.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 14th, 2009 11:38 pm (UTC)
Will do. Just now finished the first draft of the non-Jane poem, which means I put 16-20 hours into it, since I've been obsessively working on it pretty much since I started it.
Nov. 14th, 2009 11:51 pm (UTC)
Ahhhh...I can almost smell the salty air.

Thanks for the reminder that it's worth the effort in the end. :)
Nov. 15th, 2009 04:31 am (UTC)
Particularly when you create such beautiful books, Lisa - seriously.
Nov. 15th, 2009 02:44 am (UTC)
Definitely worth it -- thanks so much for sharing :)
Nov. 15th, 2009 04:31 am (UTC)
You're very welcome.
Nov. 15th, 2009 05:30 am (UTC)
So worth it!

I didn't realize the storm was so bad just a bit more south. We had some wind yesterday, but not too bad (not like the late July storm that knocked trees down around here), and some light drizzle.
Nov. 15th, 2009 05:31 am (UTC)
Well, duh. That last comment was me. I think that's the second time I've messed up the anonymous commenting on your blog. Time for bed!
Nov. 15th, 2009 02:51 pm (UTC)
No worries. Hope you had a good sleep and are set for a good today.
Nov. 15th, 2009 06:58 am (UTC)
Love this.
Nov. 15th, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
Nov. 15th, 2009 01:12 pm (UTC)
Lovely post. I'm so glad you has this time with writing and water.
Nov. 15th, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
I do love being near the water, which is, today, gone quiet - hardly a wave to be seen. It's still a sky of grey cotton, however, which I'm hoping will shove off.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 16th, 2009 03:30 am (UTC)
Thanks, Joyce! I have a friend in Wilmington, NC, who described virtually the same weather a day or so ahead of when it hit up here - I rather expect you to find some dune damage and beach erosion, but most likely all the roads are open again. If you're heading to, say, Hatteras or Ocracoke, you may want to check with the Park Service to be sure it's passable.

The non-Jane poem got finished yestereve, and I am pretty darn pleased with it (even if it is a first draft!) And today, I finished a Jane poem that I'd apparently left in-progress about 6 weeks ago. It felt good to find my footing there again, even though as ground goes, it's almost as shaky as that wet, sea-scattered straw I walked on yesterday!
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 16th, 2009 02:54 pm (UTC)
I must say that it was quite a relief to actually settle down enough that real work came out of it. I'm hoping to keep some of that focus going now that I'm home again!

Safe travels, Joyce!
Nov. 16th, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC)
It's puddles like those that make me want to buy a pair of bright yellow rain boots and go splashing around.
Nov. 16th, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC)
There were brave folks (not us) who stripped off their socks and shoes, rolled their pants up and walked through it. We were not that brave - it's been quite cold here off & on, and even the relatively balmy 61 degrees F wasn't enough to entice us. Not to mention the possibility of splinters.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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