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The Resurrection

 I recently returned from a visit to New York where I spent time with my family.  I brought my camera in case I had the inspiration to work on Deconstruction.  I packed my long white dress, and lightweight tripod so I could fit everything into a carry on bag… a first for me. (My husband is still in disbelief).  I didn’t think I’d have time because I was there to help my family and father as he began his recovery process from a fractured pelvis, at home and to visit with my mother who lives alone and is also dealing with health issues.  My mother lives close to Long Beach, so after we had a visit with her, I wanted to see it, as it was a big part of my youth and adulthood and I had to see for myself what had transpired.  There was no boardwalk, only pillars which once held the slats of wood that I used to walk on, ride on and when I lived in Manhattan, I would meet my best friend there at least 3 times a week to run… even in the snow.  Afterwards, we’d have coffee in the cafe there.  Running on the boardwalk in the winter was my favorite time… there was hardly anyone around and the sand would be dusted with snow and that cold brisk air against my fast kept me going while I inhaled that ocean air.  I remember seeing the elderly people who lived there, with their walkers and canes, sitting on the benches, looking out into the ocean, appreciating its great depth and the sun shining above.

We drove to the west end and back…I had so many memories from Long beach… from Junior and Senior High School in the 70’s to the time I moved away from New York City in 1994.  It was so quiet, even more quiet than it usually was in the winter.  I saw what was left of the boardwalk…and while my initial reaction was sadness as I saw the destruction and remembered the people who were left homeless… I could see that reconstruction was already in place. Trucks, bull dozers, mounds of sand…all to repair and recreate this place that brings so much joy to so many.  My heart went out to those who are still contending with this disaster and I pray that they are finding solace and safety at this time.

Untitled, Deconstruction Series, Long Beach, NY

A few days later, I realized that if I had the chance to do a session for my Deconstruction series, that it would be here at the boardwalk. Time flew by but on the day I was flying back to California, I got up at 5:15, packed my camera and tripod, put on my white dress and drove back to Long Beach to do the shoot. It was still dark but I wanted to be there when the sun rose so I could get back in time. Of course, I stopped at Dunkin Donuts to indulge one more time in that New Yawk Cawfee that I love so much. About a mile from the beach, it started to rain. I thought maybe it would stop by the time I got there, but it did not.  I pulled into a space in the parking lot where I could see the water and put down the passenger window to grab a quick shot with my camera while I finished my coffee. The rain did not let up and I surrendered to Mother Nature thinking that it just wasn’t the time to do it and I let it go.   I sat and stared out the window and then it dawned on me that if I could get a clear view, I could do the shoot through the passenger window.  I originally wanted to do the shoot standing under the pillars, but it was raining too hard to expose my camera.  I put one of the legs of my tripod on the front seat and set it up.  I did a trial and then another session… at first I was not happy about the fence in front of the pillars, but in the end, I liked the contrast and lines.  It felt good to photograph at a place that I hold dear to my heart, one that is in reconstruction, like I am. I felt that together, we are building a new foundation, a resurrection, another chapter.

Untitled, Deconstruction Series, Long Beach, NY

I will never forget the Italian Ices, the bikinis I wore, the boys I flirted with, the bars I hung out in, the restaurants I ate in,  the 2 mile runs and long, intense talks with my best friend or the growing up I did here at this boardwalk. As I see the beach leveled out, I too, am going through a transformation and I look forward to the day when I return and get to walk on the new boardwalk and join my elders once again, to marvel at the great ocean and let it fill me with its infinity and the ability to endure the changing tides.