Please disable your adblock and script blockers to view this page

5 Writers on the Summers They Will Never Forget

CreditCreditSupported byLonger
Old Cutler Road
Matheson Hammock
The Planned Parenthood
The Biscayne Bay

Patty Hearst
Tito Puente
Calella —
Riera —


Long Island Sound
Biscayne Bay
Dinner Key Marina

Far Rockaway
Main Highway
the Rickenbacker Causeway

Orchard Beach
the Dominican Republic
Punta Cana
New York
Miami Beach

No matching tags

Positivity     49.00%   
   Negativity   51.00%
The New York Times
Write a review: The new york times

In the pool, by the sea, tales of long summer days on the water.CreditCreditSupported byLonger, warmer days are finally here, and the beach beckons. I’m 10, and the biggest goal in my life is to swim two 25-meter laps of the pool without a breath: 50 meters underwater, at the end of swim practice, what’s called, aptly enough, ‘‘no-breathers.’’ To be honest, I’ve spent most of the summer underwater already. If you were an anthropologist hanging around our little summer swim club, your notes might read, ‘‘presents as a normal suburban boy spending an abnormal amount of time underwater.’’Why?Maybe it feels good down here on hot, humid, dead-air days, dawdling in the cool eddies. I like it when friends come down with me, their hair haloed hilariously around their head, and we act out some important conversation because you can’t hear anything but soft whooshing in that underwater room, not even the adults jabbering up on the deck.This summer has included a first girlfriend, with whom I communicate by terrified avoidance; Patty Hearst, who’s still out there somewhere, wearing her beret; and the movie ‘‘Jaws.’’ We live in a town on Long Island Sound, and a 25-foot shark munching people, even if mechanical, has left its impression. As the oldest, and because I’m 10 now and have made myself an expert in submersion, it’s time that I at least try.And so I do, at the innocuous end of practice one morning near the innocuous end of summer, when most of the team has left the pool after a grueling workout, and Coach Sangster is picking up stray kickboards, and someone else is beginning to roll up the lane lines a final time. One summer night, when the sky was clear and starry, the moon absent, the air cold, my friend and I decided to swim in the phosphorescence. When the universe forgets us, at least we are a family connected by tiny lights.For years, every single weekend of every summer, my family trekked 45 minutes to Orchard Beach in the Bronx. Why, we wondered, do our parents make us sit so far away?Then, my first summer back from college, I started staying behind, too. Now my cousins and I do the same whenever I visit.I think I finally understand the reason the older generation took us to Orchard Beach all those summer weekends: They were trying to recreate their lives back home. Many in his town live and die without ever having seen it at all.At first, returning to the island where I was born felt like landing in the middle of my father’s memories, continuing a story he cut short to start a new one in New York. My family still retells that story more than 15 years later.We’ve found other beaches to visit, but always those with large parks attached, where we sit far enough from the water to forget we’re at the beach. A great, lidless eye, inhumanly blue, following us along Main Highway through the Grove toward Miami Beach; waiting for us if we chose to pedal in the opposite direction, down Old Cutler Road to Matheson Hammock, a park with a man-made coral atoll pool bordering the real bay. So does this memory: the bridge to a blue expanse of dreaming time that girls deserve, and not only for a summer.Before you and I get too far into this story about one summer day in a tiny coastal town called Tamariu, you should know that Tamariu is about a 90-minute drive north of Barcelona in the northeast of Catalonia, which itself is in the northeast of Spain, and just south of the French border.Before I ever step foot in Tamariu my wife, who was born and raised in Barcelona, spends a good chunk of every summer of her childhood there. She’s looking for change and change is hard to come by in Tamariu which is neither good nor bad, it just is.Before you think about coming to Tamariu know that there are two other coastal towns nearby — Lllafranc and Calella — also under the administrative aegis of Palafrugell and those two are larger, busier, more finished if you will; Tamariu is good for a swim, a page-turner, and a walk along the esplanade; it never seems more itself than when it’s empty and quiet.Before my wife has a change of heart years later and we walk down la Riera — Tamariu’s pipe-cleaner of a main street that floods when tempests come — and arrive at the small, semicircular beach at the base of town that glistens like the shiny half-moon at the base of your thumbnail we decide to skip the beach.Before the crowds start to clot on the beach and bake in the sun, before they start to splash in the seawater, the inescapable summer sounds and colorful phalanxes of parasols looking like polka dots in the heat’s hazy distance as we tiptoe around them all, crowd-averse as we are, cut across the beach and head toward the rocky hills that curve back toward the bay, away from the beach, and out of sight.Before we start to climb an improvised footpath worn into the rocky seaside embankment toward the isolated bays behind Tamariu with their vertiginous views of themselves, the sea, and little else.Before we finish climbing the cliff, we see someone else already on the cliff: an old man fidgeting with something on the high rocks and decked out in a blue wet suit.Before we begin to pretend again that summer is a rational thing and you corner me on a cliff and say I have to choose what came first and what came next, find the brightest spot in this song of the summer and stay with it.Before one summer blurs into several summers in the same place at once separated only by the perforations that age make on your memory.Before I know what this is about, I know when this is about: that moment in summer when summer seems like it will never end and becomes an eternal present, or a singular moment made of many moments transformed into a constant feeling with no beginning or end.Before I think to tell you that this isn’t a story — not an arc with a beginning and an end — I remember that summer is never really a story, no matter how many summer stories we think we tell; summer is a texture.Before we go further, try to remember your favorite texture, portrait, tableau: close your eyes and see it now in front of you, remember how its many scenes and multiple moments happen together at once, the foreground and background unfolding rhythmically in their own time like when you stare into the sun and slowly another shapes appear.Before the texture of last summer fades, I remember who I wanted to tell you about.Before we reach the peak of our favorite cliff he’s already there, anxious to enter the sea. At his side are a boy and a girl who watch the old man wind his way down the cliffside and slowly ease himself into the water with an absent look on his face and a knife in his hand that makes me remember my own grandfather and that the few times I saw him back in Antigua were almost exclusively at sea dazzled by a type of dreaming I couldn’t fathom.Before we go too far into this summer portrait or not far enough.Before his grandchildren, left to their own devices, leap fifty feet down into the shining water and climb back up, and leap back down into the shimmering water twice so happy that when they squeal nothing comes out of their mouths, I wonder if I’ll tell them to be careful or if in doing so, in just introducing the idea of being careful, I’ll fear becoming the monster who ruined their summer.Before I consider leaping fifty feet down into the shining water, climbing back up, and leaping down into the shimmering water again, having been left to my own devices by my wife due to my own laziness.Before I contemplate taking a nap, I look down to see my wife in the water with two of our friends, wading far away in the depths of the Mediterranean, chatting in Catalan, occasionally slipping on a pair of goggles they’re sharing between them to marvel at the life passing beneath their feet; its beauty, and that some of it is still even there.Before the grandfather’s two grandchildren lose sight of him, and I lose sight of him, and they weave around me on those high rocks in the way that children do when they’re distressed and try their best not to seem distressed in front of a stranger as they call out for him and hear back only the laughter of the lapping water.Before I decide that, although we’re strangers, we shouldn’t be strangers now and I ask the children if they know where their grandfather is, and they say no, no they don’t.Before I turn the cliff into a lookout tower and scan as far as I can see for their grandfather and look down watch them my wife and friends swim from one end of the bay to another, searching for him, finding no one, and then — after they look up to the cliff to make sure the children aren’t looking at them — deep dive down into the sea to make sure his body hasn’t been dragged down by something.Before my wife and two friends swim from one of Tamariu’s bays to another, turning out of sight, all the way back to the main beach we’d hiked so far away from and find the grandfather there, scouring the seabed for urchins, lost in the thought of the richness of their flesh.For him there was nothing before that: not the calls of his desperate grandchildren; not dangers of the sea; and certainly not this thing they’ll say in the future was a simple figment of our imagination, a splinter of sun in the mind, a temporary little flinch in the timeline that we once called summer.Advertisement

As said here by