I love to listen to the ocean. I have fond memories of falling to sleep in the summer to the sound of the ocean. Those were the days before all rentals at the beach had air conditioning. Before we got soft as a society. Some nights were miserable, heat into the 90s in the middle of the night. Sunburned skin sticking to sheets. Waking and not sure you’d slept.
But some nights were wonderful. Warm air, a breeze off the ocean blowing through the window. (No sunburn yet). The sound of the ocean could lull you to sleep on a night like that. Lying there in the bed, listening to the ocean waves in the distance, I never wanted to leave the beach.
Today, even if you are in a beach front home, you might not hear the ocean when you go to sleep in the summer in a mid-Atlantic beach town. For one thing, you’ll probably have the air conditioning on and so your windows will be shut. And if not, your neighbors certainly will have the AC on and you’ll have the pleasure of hearing a compressor running in the night rather than the sound of the ocean.
No, you need to travel north in the summer on the Atlantic coast to hear the ocean as you are falling to sleep in the summer.
The last time I remember hearing the ocean as I was falling to sleep was a few years ago. We had taken a trip to Maine and were staying on Deere Isle near Stonington. It was late August, and the weather was typically warm during the day and cool at night. We could easily sleep with the windows open.
We stayed at the Goose Cove Lodge, situated on a small bay on the island. The island sits between East Penboscott Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s one of the peculiarities of the region that East Penobscott Bay is even called a bay in my opinion. If you look at the map, you’d probably be inclined (as I am) to call the huge stretch of water an extension of the Atlantic. At any rate, you could year the ocean in the evening, lapping at the rocky shore of goose cove.
In the morning, the sounds were different. There were birds of course, but there was also the sound of lobster boats. little engines running for short bursts across the water. Buzzing and burping from pot to pot.
Last summer, I stayed in Lewes, DE for two weeks near the Delaware Bay. I would have liked to sleep with the windows open and listen to the bay, but many of the nights it was simply too hot to do, and on other nights there was too much noise (both from kids partying at the house down the street and from near by air conditioners to hear the sound of the water.
Somehow, I suspect that a certain something is being lost. How many kids today will never have a summer vacation where they fall to sleep listening to the sound of the ocean? How many kids never leave the comfort of a climate controlled room during the summer? Too many for sure.
One thing I can tell you for sure, is that I want my son to experience these things. Even if we do enjoy our air conditioning (which I certainly do) I’m going to make sure that he gets some exposure to the real world. One sure-fire way to make that happen is to take him camping near the water. Maybe that is the goal for next summer?