December 24, 2013

Quiet Night

We live in an old fishing/farming village on the very edge of  southern New Jersey.
We are surrounded by bays, lagoons, salt marshes and creeks all flowing into the mighty Atlantic Ocean.

The soil  is world famous for growing tomatoes. New Jersey is known for its vegetables and flowers and earned the nickname of The Garden State.

There is a rhythm to life by the seaside.
Each season has it's own rhythm, its own habits and traditions that vary little from generation to generation.

In winter the boats are taken out of the water for the most part as the bay sometimes freezes up .   Nights are spent at home where it is warm rather than outdoors as they are in summer.

This week the family made a trip into the city to pick up a special hat that had been ordered for one of the grandfathers at Saks 5th Avenue  and went to look around in  FAO Schwarz  toy store.
It could have been shipped but it is a good excuse to make the trip into the city and look in the stores.

The girls spent time  dancing around on the giant piano, which they love to do.
If you saw the movie Big, then you saw that piano in the store with Tom Hanks playing Heart and Soul and Chopsticks on it.
That movie was in 1988, a long time ago now.      It is a favorite movie of mine.
I did not go as I think I still am not ready to be jostled in crowds and in December New York City is filled with people shopping.  There are quieter times to go.

Tonight the neighborhood is quiet, but then it usually is out here.   Dark and quiet. 
The only sounds that break the night come from the pine barrens. There are animal sounds like the  foxes that screech  in the woods.  There is the sound of the pines and cedars  that stretch for miles around the bay as the wind off the water blows through them. You can hear them rustling and creaking.
But on the coldest winter nights the fox, rabbits and deer are curled up asleep in their snugly dens.  Even the old barn owl is sleeping in his hollow tree tonight. No 'who, who, who' can be heard.
He is an old hand with winters around here and does not migrate south.
His den, in a hollow tree high up off the ground, is warm and cozy.

Lights are on inside the few houses around me and  outside colorful lights break through the dark in honor of the Christmas holiday.
Most of the families older parents live in Florida now. Sad  for the grandchildren and I think the trend of families moving far from one another is not a good one at all.  I see the sadness in the young couples eyes as they talk about missing their family more around holidays.

A boy is setting off little firecrackers in his backyard which he does for each and every occasion he can think of! Bang, crackle, bang!   It goes on for almost half an hour breaking the silence of the cold winter's night.
 Our homes here are not close to one another but separated by little 'woods' of trees on either side of most houses. It does little to dampen the sound for firecrackers.

 The skies are clear and full of stars and the air, which had been warm all week, is icy cold once again.
 The bay is choppy  thanks to a 20 knot wind. Its surface is glittery with star shine  on the choppy waves that head to shore.
Wherever you are I hope you have a lovely evening.


  1. Hi Annie, It is a quiet evening here in my home tonight. The family spent Christmas eve at their friends house who will then all be at their house tomorrow for Christmas. So I am enjoying the quiet with my kitties. Have a great weekend. Oh I can understand you not going to NYC I wouldn't want to this time of the year either and I have no issue like you did. Hugs, Dru

  2. Hi Annie, I am enjoying a quiet evening as we enter the early hours of Christmas morning. I have my house in order for the day and my family will be here. Our family stays close, my sisters just 45 minutes away and my brother about 30 minutes. Since we are all in Ca, we stay close. Have a very Merry Christmas! Hugs

  3. Hi Annie, Beautiful story about your environment. Loved reading every word. Thanks for sharing it! Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and happy & healthy New Year. Hugz!

  4. Have a Happy New Year 2014. :)

  5. Annie- I so love that ICON you made of the little bird (above) winking. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE birds. My father's nickname for me was "Birdie." What program to do you use to make those? Your blog is both beautiful and comforting. Sal

  6. Your home environment sounds just lovely. I agree with the trend of families living farther apart. I miss my children and grand kids and warm Florida winters just don't make up for missing all those giggles! Have a blessed Happy New Year. Hugs

  7. Hi Annie! The east coast seaside sounds so very different from the SoCal beaches. It's interesting that it's so woodsy compared to ours. Sounds a little more like Northern California or the Oregon coast. I've been to the FAO Schwarz in NYC where the big piano is. I thought FAO Schwarz went out of business and Toys R Us had taken over that multi-story building. If that's wrong, I'm glad because I loved it just the way it was! Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2014!

  8. Just googled and see it is still there! I'm happy about that! We had several of them in California and I think they are mostly gone now. :(

  9. I do miss living by the ocean from time to time, but I agree with you, Annie, that grandparents miss a lot if they move away from their grandchildren. I gladly exchanged the ocean for mountains to do that! A happy and healthy 2014 to you and your family!

  10. I truly think you live in a wonderful place, my sweet friend, I'd love to visit such a lovely country !!
    Wishing all the most beautiful things for the New Year to you and your beloved ❤

  11. Dear Annie.
    Wishing you happiness, good health and many blessings in 2014. Hugz!

  12. Happy New Year Annie! Wishing you a Healthy Happy New Year! (((HUGS))) Dru

  13. Happy New Year Annie! It is so serene in here. Hope you are doing ok, Hugs

  14. Hi Annie! Happy New Year! May 2014 be a wonderful for you and your family. ((Hugs))


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