Driving home just before sunset, I see the sign for . The sensible thing to do would be to ignore it, get home, do all those things I should be doing. The world would go to hell in a handbag if everyone just forgot their list of things they should be doing and took the wrong turn on the way home, right?
My hands take over and turn the wheel, and I'm heading down the road that will take me to the boardwalk, to those silvery sands and the gentle sea. Herring Gulls are bobbing on the water at the outlet of a small creek that flows into the sound; they're catching some kind of hapless sea life pouring out with the falling tide, but they're doing it in an uncharacteristically lazy way for gulls. No squawking and squabbling. More in a we've-been-here-for-hours-gorging-ourselves-and-can-barely-poke-another-thing-in kind of way.
Night-herons are leaving for an evening's fishing -- wok wok, wok wok, they go. I walk along , and an incredibly friendly cat saunters out and joins me for a walk along the sand. A Glossy Ibis flaps overhead, its profile elegant and ancient and Egyptian against the backdrop of summer houses, the heat haze rising up from grills on people's decks, the pre-dinner drinks being poured. The sun is setting -- how serious are they about closing Silver Sands at sunset, I wonder.
Back I go along the boardwalk, and there -- there -- is the reason I took a wrong turn. The clouds, the sunset are incredible. So incredible that strangers stop to take photos, and they forget they are strangers and marvel and wonder together. I say to one woman, "I'm so glad I got out of the car," and she says to me, "Life is always worth getting out of the car for."