Back in the very early days of this blog, one of the great and rewarding pieces of serendipity was getting to know Larry Deemer, sand aficionado and photographer extraordinaire. I first published a selection of his stunning images back in April 2009, and there have been subsequent collaborations on ice, horseshoe crabs, and scale. And in the meantime, he has published a glorious book of his sand pattern images. Most importantly, also in the meantime, we have become good friends and it’s a great pleasure to post a selection of his latest photos of the creative conspiracy between waves, foam, and sand.
But there’s a backstory, and a dramatic one. In that first post I wrote that Larry is “lucky enough to live in Breezy Point, a coastal neighbourhood in Queens, the borough of New York City,” and indeed my wife and I were lucky enough to visit Larry, Lou, and Buck and enjoy their company, their home, and their beach. But then, in October of last year, Hurricane Sandy rolled the dice and the luck of the residents of Breezy Point changed – catastrophically. They were hit not only by damage from the storm (which would have been relatively manageable), but by a devastating fire that raged out of control and destroyed over a hundred homes. Over 200 more were terminally damaged and have been bulldozed. Larry was, in this sense, lucky: the water damage to their house was reparable and they have been back home since the middle of January, feeling, as Larry has commented, “like pioneers.” But not home as it used to be – houses around them are no longer there, and the process of rebuilding is stalled by the absurdities of bureaucracy. We use the term “community” somewhat loosely these days, but Breezy Point was – and is – a real community; just read some of the stories on the web to appreciate what the word really means.
But nature continues her activities, oblivious to human hardship, and the beach, although “the 6’ dunes are now 2’ dunes',” continues to be an inspiration. Thanks, Larry.
[Soon after writing this post, I heard from Susanne Rieth who runs a blog called Rockaway Rises - Rockaway is right next to Breezy Point. The blog is well worth a look, described thus: "Rockaway Rises is a community for sharing and enjoying the positive aspects of life on our fair peninsula. We welcome submissions of photography, art work and uplifting stories that remind us why we love it here, and why we will continue to thrive here in spite of Hurricane Sandy. No devastation and destruction. Only gratitude for what we still have, the ocean and our community."]