October 31, 2020

Singing in the Rain (Sort Of)

Rehoboth Ramblings


It’s a shame that wearing masks has become a political issue. This virus neither knows nor cares about anyone’s particular views. All it is capable of doing is replicating itself in another human victim and it’s very efficient at that. I find wearing a mask in the summer heat to be uncomfortable too, though not nearly as uncomfortable as being in the ICU would be. But wearing masks and not getting too close to people are at present the only ways we have to slow the transmission of this highly contagious disease.

One other thing we can all do these days is to try to act civilized with each other. Everyone is stressed to different degrees, but those incidents that happened at ice cream parlors this summer are inexcusable. In a few ice cream shops from Narragansett to the Cape, some impatient and rude customers threw a fit and became abusive when they were told they were required to wear a mask while inside or to eat their ice cream outside.

This is not what was meant by the old rhyme “we all scream for ice cream”. My sympathies to the young staff members who had to deal with these jerks. By the way, ice cream is not some rare, hard-to-find substance you have to fight over. It’s available in many flavors at the grocery store. I should know; I’ve been eating way too much of the sweet stuff recently.

Now that it’s hot and humid outside, the trips to walking trails in the woods   don’t seem so appealing due to poison ivy, ticks and mosquitoes. It’s no wonder everyone is turning to the beach. Since we want to avoid crowds this summer, we go late in the day or when the weather is cloudy and cool. Actually these are my preferences even in normal times. I’m not big on fun in the sun; I just feel like I’m going to get heat stroke. Not many beach-goers share this view.

The last Saturday in June we headed to Horseneck Beach in a light rain. When we got there, it was raining harder so we just got out our umbrellas and went walking on the beach in the rain. While it would normally have been a busy day, there was no need to worry about physical distance from others that day. There were a few lifeguards finishing up their shifts and a couple of guys out here surfing and us. There was no suggestion of thunder or lightning. We weren’t so desperate as to walk on the beach in an electrical storm.

A flock of gulls went marching ahead of us, hoping for handouts no doubt. They made an amusing sight. The little plover chicks are now fledglings trying out their wings, such cute little birds. Overhead a flock of terns swooped over the water. There was a stiff ocean breeze, very refreshing, even if it turned the umbrellas inside out. We walked the path behind the dunes, stopping to smell the beach roses, until turning left over a dune and back onto the beach.

Though it was refreshing and uplifting, I wasn’t exactly singing in the rain like Gene Kelly’s exuberant song and dance number in the movie of the same name. It wasn’t exactly a glorious feeling, but it was a carefree feeling, and if I wasn’t exactly happy again, I was sort of happy, to be outdoors, doing something crazy and unexpected, as if I was still young and as if the world was just going on as normal, laughing and singing in the rain.

We’ve also gone a few times to the much smaller Fogland Beach in Tiverton (“Fogland” sounds like the place I’ve been living in the past few months.) It is on the wide Sakonnet River (technically called a saltwater strait) and not the open ocean, so there are no real waves to speak of. We haven’t seen much fog there but we greatly enjoy watching wind-surfers and kite-surfers zipping along. Gosh, that looks like fun, if a person was strong and athletic and a lot younger than I am.

Even for those who aren’t there for water sports, there’s a feeling of freedom on the beach, much needed after our long home confinement. Just being there right on the edge of things, where the land and the sand meet the sea, with the wide and sometimes dramatic sky above, hearing the hypnotic sound of the surf as the waves break into frothy foam – what a welcome change.


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