There’s something fragrantly fishy about quiet river time frolicking among childhood friends down by the Fair Haven Dock.
It’s a common, soothing sight to see — a gaggle of kids clamoring around a fishing net, exploring a good catch. Of course, they throw the little fish right back in as the tide rolls out. After all, it’s the bonding down by the river that counts most.
Home. The solace of the scene. This is it for them. For many. The bright sun dancing with a simple, happy time. The sound of lapping water peppered by giggles and gasps over a few fish wiggles, seaweed and shells. The sand between the toes. The home in the heart made to keep kid memories.
Take a look … Remember? (CLICK on one photo to enlarge and scroll. Enjoy!)
Distanced sail, anyone? Some good little rats are taking to the river for a little camaraderie and sailing instruction these days. The pandemic hasn’t taken away the river, after all, and its rites of passage, like sailing.
Summers in the Rumson-Fair Haven area are rife with river-oriented activities that have become tradition. River Rats’ sailing “camp” in Fair Haven is no exception. OK, nobody was camping. It was more like a little club. Still is.
It’s been the way of growing up on the Navesink for decades — since 1955. Kids learn how to boat and do a lot of summer fun bonding in the process.
There will be Fourth of July fireworks over the Navesink River this year, courtesy of the Hackensack Meridian Riverview Medical Center Foundation; but, due to COVID-19 concerns, there won’t be an audience, exclusive or not.
Last Thursday, a Navesink River waterfront spot in Rumson became the focal point of the search for a missing kayaker that ended in tragedy. And more than a century ago, the same vicinity was the site of flourishing happy-go-lucky times of transport and community. It was the site of the Rumson dock where the famous Albertina steam ship made stops for commuting, community and entertainments’ sake.
On this dank, pandemic April day, everyone could use a little solitary solace. A reminder that the river that gives so many in the Rumson-Fair Haven area peace and happiness is still there. And still. Calm. Reflective.
So, we take you back a few years to 2016, when this photo gallery/slideshow was first published. There’s much irony in what it says. Take a look at the featured photo. It speaks an uncanny isolated truth about today and the very same spot. Their reflections are consoling.
They tell us that when everything around us is still, there is something to see in the water’s mirror. That little meaningful something may have been missed while looking too hard toward a sky that seemingly has no limits.
It’s the Wizard of Oz theory of looking too hard for your heart’s desire when it was right in your own back yard. Surprising what you’ll find in a still reflection, or a ripple that was in that limitless, reflective sky the entire time.
On that day, as today, the tide went out and the water was still.
The static water on the Navesink River from Rumson to Fair Haven was like a mirror, reflecting each waterfront image, each ripple, in detail. A reminder of what was always there.
To talk to anyone who considers the Rumson-Fair Haven area home, from their own back yard to far away places, a peek into the day’s end at the river is a home embrace. A hug. Comfort. So it’s been said. So it’s been felt.
So, if you can’t get down by the river tonight, here’s a hug, or 20, from the end of your road to home. (And, don’t forget to click to enlarge to get the whole hug picture.)
It’s a fall Sunday. It’s a day’s end. The start of a new week. The hush of the lapping river soothes. Dusk dances in the river’s reflections. It’s riverwalk daze at the Fair Haven Dock. A silent call to the comfort of home.
Everything is always alright in that riverwalk moment. There are many like it for a Fair Havenite — drenched in riverfront peace. Childhood laughing and splashing dancing in the mind. The cadence of it that soothes. It never gets old. It’s new with each step, each flicker in the tide, each lull in every water lap, each heartbeat that pulses home.
Take a look. Dive into the silence, the memories, each moment down by the river. Inhale home.