. . . And not a moment too soon.
While I had spent most, if not all of the past 15 years worth of New Years in Montauk, on Dec 31st of 2016, a month into my conversion as a full-time Montauk resident, I had what I thought was an original idea: I’d get up early & see the sun come up out at the famous lighthouse. Having had too many successive disasters early on, I had never been much of a New Year’s Eve reveler; and spending such an evening jammed into Times Square in Manhattan had held as much appeal as having my fingernails slowly pulled off. Yet, despite those many previous ‘alternative’ and quiet Holidays spent in Montauk, it had never occurred to me to flip it around & see the sunrise. What with our perpetually mind-boggling culture’s overemphasis on ‘partying’ and alcohol, it had never entered my mind. That I’d be any but one of a handful of ‘crazies’ to get up at that hour & head out to the point was even further from my consciousness. Silly, naive me. Last year, the place was packed. This year, with the sub-freezing temps, it wasn’t quite as crowded but almost.
In case anyone is wondering, it wasn’t just a bunch of drunks who’d stayed up all night. The interesting surprise was that about 80% of the crowd were Japanese -- of all ages, from babies to the aged. I have no idea how far they’d come but they’d certainly traveled some distance as there aren’t that many Japanese Montaukers. And I thought “what a pleasant and positive cultural tradition.” I should make it my own tradition. So, this year, with so much to put happily into the rearview mirror of “last year”; with Liz accompanying me for the first time for this new adventure; with the interesting new and exciting developments and discoveries that had been popping up to the surface it was an awesome, if frigid, experience.
What a surreal one it was. There was a bank of departing clouds on the eastern horizon so the sun was hidden at first. However, the light popping up from behind the clouds was magnificently colorful in a Maxfield Parrish sort of palette. It provided an extremely unusual color to the rippling ocean. The temp was a brisk 9 degree Fahrenheit and therefore, the waves that were blowing into the beach moved in a slushy, slurry slow motion. Out past the point, the wind was whipping up quite a chop but what was extra eye-opening were the plumes of steam that were rising off the ocean further out like mini volcanoes. It seemed like a scene depicted on the imagined surfaces of alien planets in the Star Wars spinoff ROGUE ONE that Liz & I had just watched.
There was only one way to attempt to convey the scene and that was with a panorama photograph. More to come on that subject soon but, in the meantime, the scene recorded was what I immediately knew it would become: the first image for the new version of my website. Making this shift was not a New Year’s Resolution (a practice that for MANY reasons I studiously avoid) but rather the latest expression of a new direction that’s been in the works for a few months. And I can’t wait to tell more.
Meanwhile, Happy and Healthy New Year!