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Sixty-Something: Springtime On The East End Never Gets Old

T.J. Clemente

The author on a spring bike ride. (Courtesy Photo)

And so it is, "springtime" will be here very soon. Already shoots of annual daffodils and tulips are pushing their way up in the front yard garden around our wooden porch. The last of the winter storms will still have some great roar but knowing that they will end soon makes them more tolerable. Slowly the big winter coats and heavy wool sweaters are being put away into the back closets while the lighter jackets and sweatshirts are to be used now.

On the East End of Long Island, spring is a beautiful time. The large tracks of farmland off the back roads are starting to turn green as the fruit and other specialty trees begin that wonderful colorful blossoming of pinks, whites, red and yellows. When I went to GWU in Washington, the cherry blossoms along the Potomac around the Jefferson Memorial put on an impressive show, but I believe the East End as a whole is actually more impressive.

There are only so many springtime's in a life and being sixty-something the fact is I have experienced more in the past than I will in the future, however I believe like everything else in life, the less you have of anything the more precious it becomes. Also, at sixty-something, there seems to be more power in feeling the sun beginning to warm up the earth. I notice this now more so then 30-40 years ago.

As a child springtime meant little league baseball and more Boy Scout outdoor hikes. Walking home from school was special as we all left school and drifted home in packs of 4-5 friends while slowly peeling off as we went to our homes; but not until we had a stop at "4-corners" to purchase baseball cards and bubblegum or maybe some M&M's. We would talk about things only the magic of being so young made most important.

Then back when my children were young I lived across the street of Prospect Hill School in Pelham Manor. I still can hear the sound of when they first let the very young children out for recess. The loud bubble-laughs and screams of 5-6-years-olds with joyous positive energy would echo off the tall red brick walls of that old school building as they still will soon do again this spring. Once it was me, then it was my daughters, now it is the grandchildren of so many of us going through that ritual.

My wife, Cindi, thankfully will join me on one-hour bicycle rides in the neighborhood as the weather becomes more tolerable. Everyone who rides a bike knows the beauty of springtime rides in Suffolk County. It is as good as bike riding gets. With beautiful twisting but relatively flat country roads riding I easily pass the big yards and farms where there are blossoming trees, shrubs, and plants coming to life. With warmer and more docile ocean breezes you smile ear to ear.

I used to take trips to the many various East End beaches to walk my dog. Now I go and think back of his good cheer and joy at the beach. Watching my loyal beagle being able to cut it loose and run free with such zeal through the sand along the breaking waves was a treat. Walking a dog is just so much more pleasant in the middle of springtime then it is in the middle of winter. So is living life.

Summers on the East End of Long Island are gold. Rich city folks pay huge money to spend perhaps a week or two on the East End of Long Island. We get to feel the magic here all year round. The visitors crave the fresh clean ocean air we take for granted. I once lived in Manhattan and believe me I don't miss the diesel smell of three NYC buses parked with engines running.

However what I do miss is the feeling of a seemingly endless amount of springs to experience in the future. What I do appreciate now is how wonderful the spring is. There is no way you could read this column and not appreciate your next walk on that first quintessential spring day of this new year a bit more. The trend is to get warmer nicer weather daily for the next five months. Slowly windows of homes and cars will be open more often to experience the beautiful daily spring weather with a special feeling of the whole world around us coming back to vibrant life. Sailing, swimming, hiking, beach walks, and outdoor BBQ's are in the immediate future. Enjoy them I know I will.

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