As the sun sets over the Navesink River, a walk on the Fair Haven Dock sheds light on river time that saw its season, its sunshine — river time that stays within and keeps us warm with a vivid picture of where we were, where we are.
And when you’re lucky enough to go back in river time with a first childhood friend, the winter walk gets warmer with each step. Each step forward brings you back to the same place, together, half a century later, where the sun shines bright, searing the power of one place into your forever inner child’s mind. The sear is an intricate lightning caress. A tidy, stinging storm of light.
It hits hard, bloated with love, and courses through all that you are, all that you were. It knows the two are the same deep inside. The searing light pens the picture pristine, the detail intricate, embeds it in each smile line on your face. It etches, never turning the picture to ash, only refining it.
You can see it all … in that river walk back with that childhood friend. It’s clear — so clear that you can hear it. You can hear the splash as you turn to the girl who dared to jump with the cool kids all those years ago. She smiles at the girl who stood and watched, still anchored, never wanting loose her footing on that piece of home. She’s docked there, forever reminding her friend that she is, too.
They pluck oyster shells from the shore to mark the splash made, the picture emblazoned. The sun sinks into the horizon. Its light stays within. The shells once held a pearl. The river remembers it all. It holds on tight as the friends walk away … clasping their pearly shells.
— Elaine Van Develde
Any time is river walk time. The sun is another story for the rest of this week and through the weekend. Here’s the forecast from the National Weather Service …