Winter in Fort Tilden

Visited Fort Tilden during President’s Day weekend with my wife. I love walking on the beach during the winter. You have the place to yourself. The cold wind whipping off the ocean seems to separate the particles of sand on the beach and reorganizes them into beautiful sculptures. Winter’s beauty and cost becomes evident as life seems to standout more in the pale sunlight. Death too, the entire cycle can be witnessed.

Fort Tilden  is a long pennisula, contains a maritime forest, freshwater pond, and several WWII batteries that are now grown over with brambles and scrub. The batteries long halls are now dark and empty but are galleries for some fine local graffiti art. On the ocean, I spotted a lone trawler lazing along a sandbar. In the surf, dozens of large seagulls were diving in shallow water after every wave crashed onshore–their target, small brown crabs. They were feasting.

In the sand, my wife and I searched for silvery driftwood and shells. Twice I stumbled on the bodies of birds that didn’t make it through the winter–and this one, our mildest in years. Whether of old age or some other factor, the birds lay in the sand, stiff, slowly decaying, a stark contrast to the diving gulls just a few yards away.

In the distance, Breezy Point, the infamous jetty known for producing trophy stripers and blues, was being dashed by wave after wave. Winter in Fort Tilden has one word to me, relentless.