Standing at the bottom of the
circular staircase, there are just 64 steps to the top and a couple of landings in between where you can look out. Sandy Hook and Manhattan lie to the far left, that maze of a new bridge crosses the river down below and leads to the sea, home is somewhere in the estuary to the right. Medieval in its feel, the brownstone building is eight-sided; not a perfect twin to its square southern sister who's never been open to climb. I remember kissing a red-haired boy with my hands on the top railing during a class trip in the 7th grade. The teacher sent a note home to my dad the next day. It's all at the bottom landing that I remember this, that cramped space that gives no hint of the view 64 steps up. There's a restaurant at the bottom of the hill, under the old bridge, where you can eat steamed clams and mussels, tho I never did. I used to take the bus to Sandy Hook, hitchhike on the long road out with a friend to our favorite beach and come home with the sea in my hair. The salt from an afternoon swim still on my skin. The waves against my body, the caress of the sea, the embrace... that stayed with me back at home. I worked in a restaurant on the bay for a while and ate clam broth every night that tasted of the sea. I liked the potatoes but the clams slid down rough. I haven't yet learned to like the texture of clams. There are 11 steps to go. This could be any place, this circle of stairs, but as soon as I think it, I know it's not true. Nowhere feels quite like this. It stays with me and rises on the wings of a gray and white gull. It follows the boats through the green-marked channel below. Sea Bright isn't far... where I would go to watch fishermen and plovers. Stand in the dunes and tall grass at the end of Surf Street. Watch the tide rush and the flow of the moon, let go to the arms of the sea. When I climb back down I'll run for the sea, eager for its lick on my legs. I'll wait for dark, maybe, look up from the sand to the moon on my skin, to the beam from this clamshell-shaped lens as it circles the sea and finds me, lost in remembering.
endorsed by blue jays Everywhere
6 hours ago