This time of year always stirs up a poem, or two or three, in me.
Cool, crisp days walking on the Boardwalk remind me of the infinite beauty of Absecon Island in general and Atlantic City, in particular.
While our city has had to keep reinventing itself to satisfy the thirsts of visitors and the demands of local residents, one thing has remained the same — the absolutely stunning scenery of the area. Is there anywhere else in America where you can walk out of a casino and almost right onto a beach or vice versa? It’s one of those details that has kept our city alive as a vacation destination.
The entire Absecon Island is only about seven miles long and three miles wide and Atlantic City takes up about two-thirds of it; Ventnor, Margate and Longport take up the rest.
This time of year, other than Atlantic City, the rest of these tiny cities slowly become ghost towns almost with less and less people as winter approaches.
The remaining neighbors huddle together in each other’s homes, bonds which have developed over many years of this seasonal shift. Streets and businesses once crowded and bustling with “shoobies” become more and more quiet if not altogether vacant.
Still, the natural beauty of the area is something to behold and if you ever want to get away from the regular routines of life in other parts of the city, you can walk, ride your bike or drive to take it all in.
Even the dunes can be beautiful this time of year with their seagrasses blowing in the wind. Down by Brigantine, where the bay and the Atlantic come together, waters are calm and can appear as a dark sheet of granite. Once the cranes and boulders are gone, the view in front of Revel will be an endless panorama of sand and ocean waves rolling in one behind the other.
If it gets too chilly or windy outside, you can go up to the third floor of the Pier Shops, sit in an Adirondack chair and get a panoramic view of the area from inside.
If it’s sunny, you might want to go outside on the deck and bask awhile after taking in the view. People sometimes forget how nice the weather can still be “down the shore” in the fall.
Though you shouldn’t go for a swim without any lifeguards on duty, the water temperature can still be nice if you want to put your toes in for a minute.
With summer crowds gone, there is peace and quiet up and down miles of beach for an afternoon walk in the sun.
There’s a calmness that’s not often seen and the ocean is completely green
October breezes blow cool winds and sunlight far above descends
To show a sparkling fearless sea, the other day that threatened me
With waves so high and wide and strong, approaching storms did not take long
By time I got into my car and drove a distance not too far
Sheets of rain on my windows beat and I thought they’d turn to hail or sleet
My wipers swishing to and from so very slowly I had to go
But by the time I drove back home, clouds had left, rain had stopped and sunshine once again had shone
Overcast, cloudy and gray
Still beautiful in a different kind of way
Skies low in multi shades of blue
Sun in, sun out, not knowing what to do
Feathered creatures prepare for southward flights
We pull out sweaters for cooler days and nights
Surfers don wetsuits, swimmers stay ashore
Few people trying to sunbathe anymore
Boaters still out enjoying the day
Fishermen cast lines into the bay
Tides unusually high with the moon
Leaves will begin falling one day soon
How Many More Days
How many more days like this before the leaves begin to fall and green foliage turns brown, red and yellow
How many more days like this as we turn from slow summer ones and life ever so mellow
How many more days to taste the spray of a calm but salty sea
Before the chill of winter reminds us of what must inevitably be
Here it is that seasons change and tell us what to do
Time to rest, regroup, rejuvenate
Prepare ourselves anew
Turiya S.A. Raheem was born and raised in Atlantic City. Currently an English teacher at Atlantic Cape Community College, she loves to describe her neighborhood as “the other Atlantic City,” because it was not the casino-resort mecca most people know today. It was a place with a “cozy, down-home feeling” as she describes in her 2010 book, Growing Up in the Other Atlantic City: Wash’s and the Northside.
Hopefully the Atlantic City Marathon will one day serve as a microcosm for the city whose name it bears — an entity that fell on hard times only to reverse its fortunes and recover stronger than ever.
Festivals, fun and more in South Jersey this fall.
Jacob Lawrence Day in Atlantic City
Black History, Jazz and Poetry