..ed era luce pura
This has always been a good town to leave. I’m not sure why anyone came in the first place, but the books in the local library suggest it had something to do, in some order, with caviar, the American Revolution and Atlantic City. Only one of those things matters to a soul here anymore, and at that, only on the off chance of a free summer evening trying one’s luck on the spinning wheel. Almost everyone who stayed either works tirelessly – oftentimes 2 or more precarious jobs – on fishing boats, the short but lucrative service selling fish to tourists, or the runoff economy of tourists purchasing local wares in the strip of historic shore resorts.
Then there are those, not entirely distinct from the first group, that gig from one hit to the next until the final knockout punch. There has been at least one protest against heroin here in the last year – and to be clear, not against local and state policy to end or bandaid an epidemic. That is: In the absence of anything close to rational policy, a desperate protest against the drug itself. It was front page news several days running in the local press, now shuttered.
If you ever lived here over the stretch of gray months, coinciding perfectly with the Exodus of Shoobies to the golden triangle of Montreal, Philadelphia and New York City, then you know that the only unadulterated, pure and genuinely peaceful hideaway (in the biggest spiritual sense possible) is the Delaware Bay south of the Cape May Lewis Ferry terminal. Between the alienesque horseshoe crabs and exposed sewer tunnels that jut out from the sand like hyperloops to another dimension, it’s not of this planet. Though I left nearly two decades ago, it’s the place I most enjoy returning to as a reminder of its mystery and revelation. Of what might have drawn people here as early as anybody has been drawn anywhere from their origins in this country.
This town is a good place to leave, but you must always go home.