The great thing about living here is that there are two summer seasons. There is the popular one that everybody knows about, and it comes first. It is a season plagued by fog, cool nights and a chilly ocean, and people with high expectations. The second summer might have fog and cool nights, but the ocean is at its best and there are no extra people.The residents who remain come out of hibernation and hold their annual summer kick-off party the day after Labor Day. This is one of the few parties where no one is fundraising. No one is over- or way under-dressed. In fact, outsiders might not even recognize it as a party at all because it is pretty much just people who haven’t seen each other in three months.
They greet with a raised index finger. This wave, indigenous to these parts, as it is to most rural regions, has its genesis in the safe operation of a tractor or some other type of harvesting equipment. The operator, rather than take a hand off the wheel to give his acquaintances a warm welcome, lifts one finger. It’s a wave that says, “I see you, but I am busy.”
The second summer wouldn’t be off to a fair start if it didn’t have a thrashing storm to accompany its arrival. And storm it did, giving farmers and their affiliated agents something to talk about for the next few months.
It rained 1.6 inches at the greenhouse in southern Sagaponack, but down in the harbor, not 5 miles away, you could transpose that reading to be accurate. It also hailed. It only lasted about seven seconds, just long enough to shred the outer leaves on the lettuce.
When the lightning stopped and the rain slowed, my brother and I stood in the farmyard and watched the cloud formations. Dark, smoke-colored clouds were rolling past and we watched as that roll spiraled its way right down to the ocean and then could see the white moisture from the ocean pulled into this spiral and begin an upward roll into the sky.
Observing this phenomenon was more amazing than frightening, however, when you consider what was elementally taking place, then you might get scared. A touch of the neighbor’s corn, a block not much bigger then your average Hamptons’ swimming pool, was pushed down in 360 degrees and plants were ripped straight out of the ground, evidence that a little tornado had tickled nearby.