Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Posts Tagged ‘beaches

EMPTY BEACH

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We walk the beach today from the bottom of High Street to Gerry’s Fries.

The sky is an unbelievable blue. The sun is warm, the wind brisk and cool. The Big Flag is gone. A smaller one flies in its place. A strong offshore breeze stretches it straight out.

Gerry’s Fries is closed.

A fishing boat churns out of the harbor mouth rising and dipping through the white caps. The wind blows the sound of its engines churning against the waves to shore. There are no SeaDoos, sailboats or pleasure boats on the water

The beach is empty. Gulls basking in the sun have taken over. Summer ends in Southampton.

In town there are more parking spaces. Bicycles no longer use our sidewalks as their personal road. Turning left is much safer. The crowds, the traffic, the summer people are almost gone. Geese are gathering.

We still have Pumpkinfest and Thanksgiving to live through. But after that, the cottages will close. Shutters will go up on the big houses. Snowbirds will head south. And Southampton will sleep through the winter.

I like this time of year.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

September 9, 2012 at 5:22 PM

EMPTINESS

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I go searching for something to blog about on this cold, grey November day. Thoughts always come to me when I’m out and about.

Ice fog is lifting off the Sauble Beach Parkway, hovering over the tops of the trees waiting to see if the sun can squeeze through the clouds to burn it away. The ceiling is too low though and it looks like rain.

The parking lot of my favourite breakfast spot is empty. Since we are well into the off-season I fear they might be closed. They’re not. But they are empty. Its a strange feeling given the crowds they cater to from May 24 to Thanksgiving. From my window seat I can see that ’emptiness’ is all around me.

Main Street Sauble Beach is shuttered up tight for the winter. The plywood and such covering the windows and doors of the gift shops and restaurants add to the tackiness of the scene. This street screams ‘beach town’ at the best of times. You don’t notice it that much in summer because of the crowds. Summer people come here in droves and bring their big city ways with them filling in every ounce of space on both the street and beach.

I’ve always wondered why Southampton and Port Elgin don’t suffer this fate. They seem to rise above it. I’m not being critical here…just a personal observation.

But, it doesn’t matter now. The town is empty. The beach is empty. The stores are empty. I drive an empty shore road and a great calm descends on me. I realize why I love this time of year. It is still. No crowds madly rushing off in all directions at the same time. No craziness.

I drive on to the beach. I can park wherever I want and not pay the customary fee.  Walking in solitude I get lost in the emptiness.

The peace and quiet of the approaching winter is on the land.


Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

November 29, 2009 at 10:07 PM

What Do They Know?

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Sitting watching the waves wash over the rocks I couldn’t help but wonder, how long have they been there.

Surely longer than the town.

It was the weekend of Southampton’s 150th Anniversary. Celebrations were well under way. High Street was closed and tricked out in bunting of blue and white, as were some of the homes. Perhaps thousands watched the parade. Day and night there was music everywhere – activities and demonstrations for everyone of any age – dances – a bustling beer tent – regattas – beach volleyball – giant kites – a lantern parade around Fairy Lake at dusk – stories told and memories recalled.

They took everything old, pictures and stories, and made them permanent in books so future generations could look back and understand where the town came from and what its heritage was all about.

And the rocks, sitting on the shore, year after year after year, silent, stoic, embedded in the sand, imperceptibly worn away by the relentless surf…what stories could they tell?

Did they come by glacier from the far north? Where they there in 1812 when French fur traders opened for business at the mouth of the Saugeen River? Did Captain John Spence and William Kennedy step over them when they landed on shore in 1848 with thoughts of settling the area? Or were they dredged from the river mouth or lake bottom and dropped there when they first built the harbour that makes Southampton the oldest port on the Bruce Coast?

These stones will never tell us what they’ve seen and heard. Unlike us, stones tend to hide their history. They will continue to sit there letting time wash over them. It will be decades before you see any change in them. We pale against their permanence. Stronger, more resilient than you and I, they will be there, in the same place, watching as Southampton celebrates anniversary after anniversary, century after century.


 

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

August 19, 2008 at 7:50 PM