Atlantis Alumni

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ten Years In Cherry Grove

This month marks our tenth anniversary in Cherry Grove. It was September of 1999 when we finally took possession of our cottage “Liberty Bell,” and took up part time residence on Fire Island. Looking back on these past ten years it has been, for the most part, truly enjoyable living here on Fire Island, living at the seashore. For me it has been a dream comes true.

I have always loved the ocean and seashore. The pure joys of walks along the beach and of swims and romps in the waves are one of the great pleasures of this place. The natural beauty of Fire Island cannot be over exaggerated. I enjoy the plants and animals here through the changes of seasons, from spring to fall. The sunrises and sunsets are spectacular. The sea is always beautiful in its many colors and appearances. It’s a beautiful place to live.

However, you can live at the seashore in a big place like Atlantic City or Rehoboth Beach, or in a remote desolate spot somewhere in coastal Maine, or you can live at the beach in a small town like Cherry Grove. Each of these types of living has advantages and disadvantages, depending on your own individual likes and dislikes. While I enjoy living on Fire Island, I have found that the small town environment is not to my liking. In a small town you are thrust in among a small group of people whose life styles and values you may not share. Yet, you are expected to go along if you want acceptance. Small towns are fine to live in as long as you fit in and as long as you subscribe to the accepted social program and conform to community norms of behavior. Small towns are not for independent thinkers, those that do not fit in easily, or those unwilling to conform. This I found out gradually of the course of the last ten years as I tried but failed to be accepted, and to be a part of various community organizations, groups, and cliques. This part of living here on Fire Island has not worked out as I had hoped.

In the final analysis, from a social perspective I prefer to live here as though I were either in a big city or in a desolate spot, either lost in the crowds, or isolated from them. I focus my enjoyment of living here on nature and the environment, and share the beauty here with my life partner, animal companions, and a few select friends. There are others who live here this way, detached from the small town goings on. They are my role models. Life here is good as long as I keep my focus on the beauty of this special place.



wpbartcritic said...

I found this true also as you know. I fit in as a shopkeeper and was acceptable if I stayed in my shop. Odd how a community shapes its players. I found my spot there but was confined to it. I am no longer there and when I visited this past year I remembered why I was there for the many years I owned a house and business there. There is no place like The Fire Island National Seashore. It's pristine beauty, plentiful wildlife and especially the bird population is an attraction for sure. I fell in love with it. It brought me back to myself after having lived in the hustle and bustle that is NYC. People come and go and that community is in the throws of transformation. Soon a new mix will assert itself and who once fit in won't and who once did not fit it may become a mayor of the place.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jim,
Cherry Grove is a special place, no doubt; you are very fortunate to have a place there with your lover. I have not been to the island in many years, but it still has a special place in my heart, it always will. In the late 1980s and early 1990s I rented a place in the lovely home now owned by Mike Fisher, what wonderful summers we had there. I have followed yours (and others) blogs and have heard of the politics and problems between groups there, how very unfortunate. I hope that you are able to have many more enjoyable years on the island. The fall was always my favorite time of the year there. Enjoy the beauty.
Best regards,
Mark Donatelli
Philadelphia, PA