An overdue good night's sleep set the course for my last summer Friday, waking at 11 was a treat. I had breakfast with Dad and after a score of household chores made my way to Riis. Jacob Riis Park for those of you who don't know is part of the Gateway National Parks in Jamaica Bay, Queens. It's an oasis of a beach that my family has frequented since I was a child. Who needs to trek out to the Hamptons or the Jersey Shore when paradise is a short jaunt away?
Crossing the Gil Hodges bridge there appeared to be a threat of rain but I thought nothing of it; there hadn't been a call for rain in any of the forecasts I'd heard. I parked and walked toward a spot near the lifeguard, spread out my blanket and sat down to relish in the peace and quiet of a lazy Friday afternoon. There were few people on the beach, and with the dark cloud looming a majority of the morning crowd had cleared out. Thunder, soft, subtle but enough of a warning that the lifeguard whistled everyone out of the water and off of the beach. I hadn't even taken off my T-shirt.
The morning had been clear and sun-filled, warm with a light breeze. I had left the house too late. Heading back to the car I looked toward the sky to see a patch of whiter clouds behind the stormy patch. Maybe I could wait it out. I could think of worse places to be in a thunderstorm. Somehow the comfort and safety of my car not too far from the coast with a natural stereo of waves crashing, a storm rumbling, the falling rain leaving fingerprints on stone and glass seemed just right, for now.
It's a light summer rain airy and free. The kind meant for dancing on grass, puddle jumping in bare feet, kissing. The rain drops like shooting stars, fireworks...the seagulls seem at a loss of what to do, where to go, there caws are sorrowful as they fly low. The sky has lightened but the rain persists. On the radio, the meteorologist delivers a thunderstorm watch until 4:45pm in surrounding areas. I have another (9) minutes to wait out the storm, hoping for it to pass.
Flashes of lightning are drifting east toward Long Island, the thunder following reluctantly. It's hard to guess if the rain will let up. With a true summer storm, the sky gives little indication to what will happen next. By now the sand is surely soaken through but I bet the water is warm and perfect for body surfing. It's raining harder now, the birds seek refuge in the sky. There are less then a dozen cars left in the parking lot, including my own. The sky is nearly white, a paler shade of gray, and still it rains on.
Photo Source: http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/