By Emily S. Brafman
In the real world there is a lot going on; Gun violence, racism, terrorism and the real possibility we will have a reality show star as our next president. It is a scary world we live in. There were some families that moved to Fire Island after 9/11. For me, the thought of living here full time usually seems like an isolated and lonely existence. This summer, I finally understood and GOT it. I am safe here, on our little island. We are hidden away from all the horror that plagues the rest of the world.
In Fair Harbor we basically live by a code of honor. Rules are almost non-existent and we all have to carry on with love and kindness. We all keep each other safe. The past two weeks have shown me this time and time again.
One afternoon last week while we waited for a looming storm to hit, I took a walk to the ocean. The clouds were moving fast but the sun was still shining. I was snapping pictures for my column. The photo I took shows the lifeguard stand with some of my biggest heroes watching from up top. The swimmers of Fair Harbor are safe under their watch. They choose flags to let us know who should and shouldn’t be in the ocean.
When the flags are red, my children know that it isn’t an ocean day, but when green blows in the wind they are free to swim on their own! If you look at the picture closely you will see the flags are crossed. The ocean is closed! It wasn’t until a week after I took this photo that I found out it had nothing to do with the weather. A shark was passing our community and our diligent lifeguards spotted the fin…. Thank you to all of our lifeguards for keeping us safe from the tides and the marine life we share with the sea!
After my walk to the ocean I strolled down to the bay, it was around 5 p.m. and the island was filled with people getting ice cream and just hanging out. That’s when I stumbled upon Hudson and Liam, two young boys sitting on a bench. Liam was strumming on his ukulele, while Hunter sang the lyrics of a popular song. People passed them by with bright smiles of encouragement. Children and adults are free to express themselves on Fire Island.
This was also most evident this past Saturday when the celebration of “Bridgehenge” overtook the dock at sunset. It felt like we were at a rally in the sixties. For weeks there have been fliers advertising this comical event. D.J. Jaffe, the creator, marched down to sunset with phragmite weed in hand and a parade of supporters behind him. He took the microphone and read a speech while the community held their phragmites in solidarity and listened cheering on his points. The energy was intense, and it was another example of the safety of our community to come together in jest and have fun!
I feel proud to be part of a community where we can coexist without formal rules and laws, there is something very special about a community that can keep within the boundaries of society while taking liberties that the rest of the world don’t get to enjoy.
There is a real sense of respect towards one another and a feeling of being safe, but not controlled. However, I do make one appeal, and that’s to the many owners of golf carts. There are tons of them in town. Please go slowly, and be careful of our younger community members. Don’t park on the boardwalks so people have to walk in the grass.
Let’s continue to take care of each other so we always have this safe paradise in the summer while we navigate the real world the rest of the time. We are all very lucky! I am off to NYC for two weeks so please send me news that I might miss in my absence! My e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org and as always, I look forward to hearing from you!