Sandy’s Notch.

Lucy Vincent Beach in Chilmark was powerfully altered by Superstorm Sandy, and was rearranged again during the Northeast storm that followed a week later. Sandy blew, waved, surged, sloshed, and washed. She made alterations at every weak point. The ensuing northeaster made more.

Lucy has been rearranged. Her silhouette, has taken new forms.

As you walk to the beach from the parking area, storm signs abound. There are fractured willow trees along the path. Wrack and driftwood hang in the gnarled and ancient blueberry bushes. As you near the beach, you enter an area of sand that has washed inland, sand washed and blown from beach and dunes, sand that has now blanketed an area once inhabited by grass, reeds, and small willow family bushes. Lumps of peat and stone were moved here by the water, punctuate the arenaceous, sabulous expanse.

Most of these punctuation marks are too heavy to lift.

When I was a boy, the beach was much further out to sea. An entire hill met the ocean. Now but half that hill remains. More erosion, more disintegration, are brought by each visiting storm.

Just a week ago, from Sandy’s surge, tide, and waves, most of the area in the foreground was a wave-scoured expanse of rock-strewn peat and subsoils. With the departure of the big waves, sand has begun to return.

The ridge silhouette steadily changes. Even the sun and the wind erode.

The Notch in the Ridge.

If you watch for a few minutes on a sunny, windy day, you’ll see dust pulled into the air, grains of sand descend in rivulets to spread in alluvial fans at cliffbase, and pebbles dislodge, bounce, and ricochet their way to the beach below.

This landscape, so erose and colorful, contains elements similar to the sterile, mineral harshness one sees in desert Utah.

Utahanesque spine.

There is even an arch, through which to see the sky.

For a while, the notch will be the signature of Lucy Vincent Beach.

From some spots on the hill, the new notch contains the sea.

From every vantage point, the shape of this notch is strong.

After the notch is gone, someone new will take the stage.

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