Friday, September 3, 2010

Beach Back Alley: Ocean City, NJ

Early morning on the back porch of the third-floor condo.

Back porches are preferable to front porches for their lack of artistry - no manicured lawns and window boxes - instead, laundry hung out to dry, puddles in the alley, bicycles leaning against cars. Empty trash cans in the sun, their lids askew.

Electrical wires from every house reach out to a Maypole of sorts just this side of the dunes. From the front, all the houses have their space delineated by geometric railings and neatly stacked first through third stories. Out back, the multiple levels of connected porches and awnings are jumbled and asymmetrical. Sunlight at this early hour casts long shadows, leaving half the panorama in shade.

I am alone with only a notebook and the shrill, haunting call of gulls that echoes over the alley. It is a brief window of quietude.