Friday, July 27, 2012

From Exploration to Shrinkage

Now that it’s over I can admit that I didn’t do much on my vacation. Of course me being me, I gave myself a bit of unnecessary guilt over that. Vacation is time to do what you want; agenda-free time spent doing nothing or everything. 
I think because I live alone and spend a lot of time alone I was apprehensive about vacationing alone. I thought to myself what’s going to make this any different from being in my apartment in Astoria? You know what made it different? I wasn’t in my apartment in Astoria. I spent a week with my own thoughts and my own body on an Island. Waves of the Atlantic crashing on one side. Waves of the Bay lapping on the other. Sand and Dunes and lots of gay people. Beautiful gay men, regular gay men, older gay men, lesbians of all ages, people of all shapes and sizes. 
I may not have taken part in all the drinking and night life that Cherry Grove has to offer, but I did take advantage of one thing. I said “Hello” to people. Every morning as I made my way into town I said “Hi” or “Good Morning” to every person that I passed. I didn’t even wait for them to say it first. I initiated. That is movement in a positive direction. I’m not foolish enough to think that this will remain a part of my life when the ferry pulls away from this magical place, but while there it’s was a huge part of my life. 
It didn’t go unnoticed however when someone just ignored the salutation. It was more often than not a younger gay. Some people just travel with their pretentiousness as an invisible carry on. I usually do that too. I know it. But on this trip I seemed to have dropped that piece of me into the water as I exited the ferry and stepped on to the dock on the first day. Of course taking note on who didn’t respond I also took note on who did. The old guard. The gay men that have been coming to this haven for years are the ones who are the friendliest. I don’t think I was even being naive that they had an agenda (i.e. to get in my pants) either. Speaking to each other is a way of life there. It’s something that has slowly come back into my life since I moved from Manhattan to Astoria. The block on which I live is part of a neighborhood. Sometimes it brings me joy to speak to my neighbors. I guess it brings a little bit of the small town humanity of my younger self into my adult life which is so far removed from that place where I grew up.
After many days spent just hanging around my rented cottage either sitting on a sofa reading or watching television. Or sitting on a lounge chair on the fabulous deck reading. I decided it was time to visit two places that I knew I would regret not seeing.
One was the Meat Rack the other the Pines.
Okay, so the Meat Rack. There’s no delicate way to explain this place. It is path-laden, wooded area that separates the hamlets of Cherry Grove and the Pines. How did it get such a lovely, visual name you may ask? Well, that’s easy. Men go there and have sex. You read it right. Its sandy trails that lead off into even more secluded areas from the main path are where gay men can go hook up, do their business, then go back to the beach or their house or whatever. It’s not a new idea. There’s even a place like this in Central Park. 
Back to the Meat Rack. I didn’t want to hook up with anybody in the Meat Rack, but I wanted to see it. It’s legendary. It’s part of the culture of Fire Island. I wanted to walk through it. I won’t lie. I’m voyeuristic. I would not have been upset had someone being going at it when I walked through. Hey I’ve lived in New York City for over 15 years. While in my apartment building in Manhattan I could watch nudity across the street from the windows of my living room or bedroom. All of that said, calm down and take a breath. I didn’t see anyone in the Meat Rack. I didn’t even hear anyone. Hearing can be almost more erotic than seeing. Anyway, I just walked through. It was a simple path of sand with dunes and trees on one side and more trees on the other side. I made my way to the other side which put me on the outskirts of the Pines.
I now understood why everyone who knew I was staying in Cherry Grove responded positively upon hearing I wasn’t staying in the Pines.
Oh. My. God. If I wanted to be in Chelsea I would go to Chelsea. The Pines was full of very worked out, beautifully tanned men. Some with dogs. Others with their pets tucked into their speedos. Yep. Let your mind wonder for a second. You’ll get there. You got it? Good. That was the second thing I noticed about being in the Pines. The first was that no one and I mean no one said “Hello.” I spoke to people just as I had been all week in the Grove, but after too many non responses I gave up on that bit of friendliness. 
So maybe I shouldn’t write off the entire hamlet based on the actions of a few, but I passed many a man on that walk from the outer edges of the Pines into town and the only ones who spoke to me were a couple or three older (white hair in their 70’s) men on the way back. I had heard that the Pines was more of the party town. It’s got an exclusivity feeling to it. By the looks of the houses it’s got a lot of wealthy home owners as well. Beautiful boys partying with wealthy gay men - sounds like a gold digger plot for an episode of The A-List on Logo.
I did not hang around the Pines. It was more like a sweep through. I made a big loop and took myself back in the direction of the Grove. Time to get back on the turf I was more comfortable in. The turf that was much easier to live in. The turf where pretension might have existed, but was less prevalent because of all the nicer, laid back people you were apt to meet.
The two previous days before this excursion through the Meat Rack and into the Pines had been cloudy and/or stormy. On this day, however, the sun was shining. It was gloriously beautiful. I couldn’t let it pass me by.
You guessed it. I slathered my body with sunblock and packed my beach bag and walked my happy-to-be-back-in-Cherry-Grove ass to the beach. That lovely spot with the driftwood, just right for leaning up against, was available, and I couldn’t claim it fast enough. I spread out my towel, marking my spot. I then walked to the water. I had to stand in it. I needed to feel the waves roll across my feet and the subsequent erosion of sand as the waves headed back out to sea. I love that feeling. The shifting sand that initially feels so packed and sturdy giving way right under you, creating a hole into which you will sink, feet covered by sand after another wave or two hits you. Solidity giving way to vulnerability.
There were many more people on the beach on that day (Saturday) than the first day (Wednesday) I decided to go nude. I sat for a second mustering my courage. Then I rolled my eyes at my own nervous fear and said to myself, “What are you afraid of? You don’t know anybody here.” When my talking to was done I promptly removed my shorts and began to enjoy my book au naturale.
One of the drawbacks of vacationing alone and sitting out in the sun is the uncertainty that you’ve been able to cover every part of your back with sunblock. There I was nude on the beach and I could tell it was time to lay on my stomach for a while and give the front side of my body a break from the baking. I attempted to apply the sunblock to my back before leaving Casita. Believe me, I tried. I looked in the mirror. I reached around with both hands from above and from under to make sure every spot had been hit, but I just knew as I contemplated turning over that there would be the one area that would burn. I could see it: a funky, dagger-shaped red sunburn where I had missed an area. Not just a spot. An area. 
What’s a man to do? Well, in my case I used my well practiced skills of saying “Hello” to people all week and asked the girl behind me and slightly to my left if she would help a gay, oops, I mean, a guy out. She was more than happy to oblige. She walked her hairless, naked body toward me and I walked my manscaped, naked body toward her and she applied generous amounts of sunblock to my back. And you know what? It wasn’t weird. I laughed about the pitfall of being on vacation alone and she asked my what I was reading. I was only 12 pages into the new book, but I told her what had prompted me to buy it. I don’t even know her name, but she kept me from that funky, dagger-shaped red sunburn. Now if I had only applied sunblock evenly to my ass cheeks. Yep, you read that right. The parts of my backside I could actually see and slather without problem I didn’t seem to slather evenly. Two large red sunburned spots on my butt. Insert eye roll and laughter here. Please. Go ahead. I did.
I burned on my ass cheeks and on the top of my feet. Nothing is sitting or shoe prohibitive nor unbearably painful. That’s the silver lining on the red blister cloud.
There was one more thing I had to do that day at the beach. I needed to test myself even further. So I had managed earlier in the week, when there were less people in the Grove, to sit in the nude on the beach. On this day when the beach was much more occupied I had managed again to sit nude on the beach. The one thing I needed to do was get up from the safe haven of my towel and walk to the water in the buff. I needed to let it all hang out, dingling and dangling, while I went to the water. I wanted to frolic in the water. I would have been angry at myself in hindsight had I not frolicked in the water. 
I returned to water’s edge continuing until the waves that once hit me at my calves passed my thighs then slung water up to my waist thereby engulfing my exposed penis in the cool, salty water of the Atlantic. I laughed. I stood there as wave after wave hit my body. Big waves. Small waves. Some waves with enough power behind them to knock me down. I never fell. I dug my toes into the sand so hard. I was determined to keep my balance. I found myself laughing out loud as I stood in those waves. It was amazingly liberating. Naked as they day I was born. 
Eventually, I felt like “George Costanza” on the Seinfeld episode when the girl sees him after he’s been in the pool and his manhood is, shall we say, not at its manliest. “I was in the pool.” I had to take my cold water effected manhood back to my towel. This was even more challenging than walking to the water in the first place. I had to suck it up and hold my head high knowing that I was smaller in appearance than the sunbaked body that had first entered the water.  
Even more challenging: finding my towel. When you’re standing in moving water, and in most cases moving with it, you don’t even realize that you are no longer in that direct line in which you walked from your towel to the water. As I made my way from water to land, I quickly scanned the beach for my towel. Thankfully, I hadn’t deviated too far from my spot while fighting the waves. The boyfriend of the girl who had so kindly applied sunblock to my back had placed an American flag bandana on a tall piece of driftwood that stood next to their sunbathing sight. 
Thank you wind and the American flag for helping me find my way back to the comfort of my beach towel. 
To say I wasn’t aware of my shrinkage on that walk back to my towel would be a lie, but I kept my head up, focused on that blowing bandana. People just seemed to be going about their own business. No one seemed to care. Of course had my penis been hanging to my knees as I exited the water I might have gotten a reaction. The point is: if anyone was pointing and laughing I didn’t see it. It didn’t seem to be that kind of crowd anyway. And you know what? I walked across that beach, shrinkage in tow, with a smile on my face.
Yay me!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ramblings of My Harshest Critic

The song “There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This” from Sweet Charity keeps running through my head. Why am I so discontent?
I have such desires inside of me. Urges to create something wonderful. To write words that touch people, make them think, make them laugh or cry, help them understand something different from what they may think. 
I sit down to write and find my thoughts jumbled. The page fills with uninspired words that fall short of creating the desired affect. Thoughts are left dangling with no resolution; stories are left incomplete.
I have so many ideas germinating in my head. There are at least 5 regular blog entries (including this one) bouncing around my brain right now as well as a large, multi-character, multi-plot fictional story and a couple of other short fiction pieces. I have started each of them. Their titles stare at me from the desktop every day when I open my laptop. If they could speak they would ask me when I’m going to finish them. They might even bypass that big question and ask me when I’m going to open their pages again and just add to them. 
I ask myself those questions every day.
When I started my blog I wrote every day. That was the point. I wanted to change my dull life by doing something different and then write about that experience. Some days there were entries that were about going to different areas of the City or to new restaurants. Some days the entries were merely about what I watched on television that night with friends. The point is: I wrote. I wouldn’t go to bed until that day’s adventure, what ever it was, had been documented. 
Now I seem to only write when the mood strikes. Previously I felt a necessity to write. I felt I owed it to the 2 readers of my blog to give them something new every day (Yes, one of those 2 was my mom). I looked forward to publishing my words. 
It was even more exciting to face the challenge of writing fiction and publishing those words. Ideas that I schemed up in my brain and then mulled over and, in some cases, acted out around my room to get a better sense of the action and the feeling. It brought so much pleasure writing those scenes and descriptions. I received so much pleasure in hearing back from a reader that they liked a description or a scene. I was so excited to face the challenge of writing dialogue. I was scared to do so. I would talk through the scenes I wrote with the inflection and meaning I wanted to be behind each word or phrase. I would describe those feelings. It was such a joy. The more I did it, the easier it got. Then when the fiction was complete it was such a sense of accomplishment. 
Right now I feel like all the joy is gone. I never set out to be a writer, but it was something that once I started came easily, maybe naturally, to me. 
Maybe that’s my problem. I’ve always hated to practice. I’ve always hated to not just be good at something. I never had to try to be a singer. It was natural talent. Maybe the things that I’m trying to write about myself at the moment, and the fiction I’m trying to write isn’t coming as easy because I’m not practicing. I'm not making myself sit down at the computer and think about it. Maybe there is no flow because I’m not doing any work. Maybe I’ve allowed the challenge of writing something a little bent, like my sense of humor and point of view, to make it not fun. Maybe I’m pushing it aside instead of practicing, trying.
It begs the question: What do I want to do with my life? Do I want to write? Yes! Do I want my life to have meaning beyond what I do to make money? Yes!
I think I may be suffering from fear of success induced laziness. If I have 2 readers or 500 I want to write and publish on my blog. I know that not every entry is going to be for every reader, but when I do publish I do my best to make sure there is honesty. It’s my honesty. My truth. 
I was told once that I’m the only person standing in my way. I believe that now more than I ever have in my life. I stand in my way more than I ever thought possible. 
All I really want to do is “finish the hat” as George sings in Sunday in the Park with George. Why then am I preventing myself from doing so. 
Write, Michael. You know that you can. Finish your thoughts. Tell your stories. You are your harshest critic. There are people who support you. There are people who read what you have to say. There are people who are touched: they laugh, they cry, they smile, they get mad, they agree, they disagree. 
“Look at what you’ve done,
Then at what you want,
Not at where you are,
What you’ll be.....”
What do I want? What have I done? This moment right now of unmotivated laziness is just that: a moment. It’s this moment. In an hour I may be less lazy. Tomorrow I may be motivated beyond the speed at which I can type. 
I’m going to take a breath now and try to understand that I am human. I’m not going to disregard my feelings. I’m going to acknowledge them. They’re nothing but feelings I created in my head. Then I’m going to attempt to set them aside so that the bigger picture of my life starts to shine through again. 
Creativity is a process that can’t be rushed. I need to understand that. I also need to understand that I have to put in the time. I need to visit the incomplete pages every day, without pressure, until they are finished. I need to stop being my harshest critic and give myself a break. I need to hear the words I’m actually typing.
I need to take time to smell the roses and to realize that there are no deadlines. I’m writing for me. If others are in some way affected that is just bonus. I think I just made a huge realization. My writing is for me. I have to get back to that place when it was a joy to see the words come together to tell the story and create the journey. 

Tick Tock Me to Sleep

“I hear the ticking of the clock I'm lying here the room's pitch dark.”
That opening line from the song Alone by Heart was running through my head as I lay in bed last night. 
The metronome-steady, monotonous ticking of the clock that sits on a ledge next to the bed in my rented house in Cherry Grove is not annoying. In fact, it’s a welcome relief. Those of you who know me and have read this blog before might find that curiously out of character for me. I know. I’m the guy who has made it a quest in life to find peace in his home. That is a difficult task in a City that never sleeps. Turns out there is comfort to be found in the simple ticking of a clock.
It’s old school. There is no digital glare. It doesn’t even glow in the dark. The clock that sits beside my bed at home is digital. No matter when I wake up I can always turn and see the time. Not here. The clock in this bedroom is small and when the lights are out the room is dark. I can hear it, but I can’t see it. The only way to do so would be to turn on the light. 
I kind of like that scenario. I tend to wake up a least once during the night when I’m at home. I look over at the clock and I calculate how much time I have left to sleep before it’s time to get up. That sucks. The brain is trying to power down while calculating the amount of minutes it has left to be in sleep mode. How descent can that one hour or 42 minutes or 15 minutes actually be? It’s fitful and nothing fitful is restful.
On the one side of me I have the ticking clock. On the other side of me I have an open sliding door that lets the sound of the crashing waves fill my room. What I don’t have is a thumping bass, a loud conversation, a ringing phone, a barking dog, a crying baby. I’m in heaven. Do I have to return to the real world? 
That’s a stupid question. I just have to enjoy every moment that I’m here and take the peace and serenity with me. I have to carry it in my soul. I have to keep in a place that is easily accessible for those moments when NYC begins to get on my nerves. It’ll happen. It always does. I’ll just close my eyes and take a deep breath and remember what the air filled with essence of ocean smells like. I’ll remember how serene the ticking clock made the night.
I won’t even need Calgon to take me away then.

Nudity: An Expression of Freedom

To nude, or not to nude, that is the question:
When sleep gave way to those first waking moments of the morning, I realized I had slept the entire night. Baby sleep. No earplugs. No bathroom interruptions. Just complete, restful, sustained, rejuvenating sleep. I couldn’t believe it. I literally didn’t wake up once. The peace, quiet and silence that exists in Cherry Grove is just what I’d been needing to reset my internal, stress-filled, City-rattled system.
To wake in a good mood encouraged infinite possibilities. The birds were chirping. Sunlight was shining brightly behind the white curtains that blocked the sliding glass door in my bedroom filling it with a soft, radiant glow. I was smiling. Really smiling. I was well rested and ready for the day. Who knew such a thing was even possible? It’s been a while.

I decided after returning from a trip into the town portion of Cherry Grove for coffee that I would take off my clothes - all of them. No one was here with me. What did it matter if I was nude? It was freeing. I threw open those white curtains that had blocked the sun earlier that morning and opened the sliding door. I went out on to the back deck and sat on one of the lounge chairs and enjoyed the sunshine on my whole body as I wrote and read and drank my coffee. It may seem silly to you, but the simple act of sitting outside and being comfortable in my own skin - all of it showing - was a big deal for me.

I’ve never wanted to be one of those people who was ashamed of his body. I’ve always tried to approach my body parts as just that - body parts. My penis is nothing different from my arm or my nose or my torso.

Our society places too much emphasis on covering up. I don’t want to be ashamed. I don’t want to be embarrassed. I just want to enjoy the body I have and be proud to show it off. Shame is a learned behavior and we are taught to be ashamed. Can you imagine what it was like for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when they didn’t know what naked was? What bliss that must have been. They could just look at one another without care or concern for what should be covered. 

A little honesty here: I’m always afraid I’ll get an erection. I always say the wind can blow in the wrong direction and I’ll get an erection. An erection at an inappropriate time makes me blush with embarrassment just thinking about it. However, why should I be ashamed? It’s blood flow to a part of my body. Penises can have a mind of their own. Sometimes the erection happens just because the penis is exposed. I swear it knows.  
Okay, let’s put this into context. I don’t want to get an erection while talking in front of a group of colleagues at a fiscal budget meeting or while auditioning for my next Broadway show. But in this writing, I’m in Cherry Grove on Fire Island and it’s one of the gayest, least pretentious places in the world I’ve been so far. So why should I worry about whether I’m erect or flaccid. Unless of course I should be erect and flaccid is all I can muster.
All that being said, it was a day of nudity for me. I made the decision to go to the beach, and I made the decision that I would enjoy said beach sans shorts.
I slathered my pale body with sunblock, threw on my swimming trunks and headed out the door. In my bag I carried a book, the bottle of sunblock, a bottle of water and a beach towel to sit on. If I was going to be nude I certainly didn’t want sand in the crack of my ass. Let’s be honest here. 
I arrived at the beach and walked along the water’s edge while I searched for a place to park my nakedness. The place I wanted, leaning up against a large piece of driftwood, was taken. I found another piece of driftwood that I thought would work if I turned it and moved it. Just as I reached down to shift the small log I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye at the even larger log where I wanted to be. The sunbather was leaving - abandoning this prime spot of real estate. Freeing up the space for me to swoop in and take. I hemmed and hawed for a second to not seem like I was hovering on the peripheral ready to swoop in and take the sloppy seconds.
Towel spread on the sand and up the log, there was nothing left to do but remove my shorts. 
The waves crashed on the shore. The sun was initially hidden behind a large cloud, but eventually it came out to shine as if showing me that even with the lights on I had nothing to fear or be ashamed of. I wasn’t the only nude person on the beach and nobody cared that my penis was exposed for all to see. 
I sat there for two hours. I read. I people watched. I listened to the waves. I relaxed. I didn’t care that my body was on display. I didn’t care that people walked by and looked at me. I welcomed it. I smiled and said hello. They did the same in return. Nothing about sitting on the beach nude was sexual. It was just an expression of freedom. I made the choice to face my erection-when-the-wind-blows fear and just exist in my skin with nothing separating me from the sun’s warmth and the wind’s coolness.
Now, if I could only pee at a urinal when the bathroom is full. Focus. Breathe. Relax. It’s just a penis. Every man has one. 

Cherry Grove 11782

And thus it began; my journey to yet another destination that until now had been on my desire list.
Watching the world that you know pass by through a train window is such an interesting experience. You see it. You recognize it. You know it. Then you see things you don't recognize. You've left behind what you know. The train is taking you away from it. The job, the place you live, the bills, the sidewalk, the subway, the stench of garbage in the summer, the yelling, the traffic. Another destination awaits; a place in time that has been existing without you, but in which you too will soon exist.
As we made our first stop on the LIRR at the Jamaica station I couldn't help but smile as I remembered the first time I'd been to Jamaica Queens. It was 1997. I had been a resident of NYC less than two weeks. I was staying on 107th and Manhattan Avenue with a couple of friends while I looked for a job and a place to live. The subway that took me to their apartment was the B or C line. The B was orange and the C was blue. I new the C was on the blue line so when the E train came I got on it. They were both blue so it didn’t occur to me that they wouldn’t make the same destination stops. Boy was I wrong. I stayed on that train for what must have been an hour until it reached its final destination in Jamaica. I was embarrassed to ask someone for help. I chose to ride that train to the end of the line rather than get off and transfer to a train that would take me where I wanted to go. On the one hand, I had nothing to rush to my temporary home for. On the other hand, I was a fool to not just ask a question. I didn't want to seem new or uninformed. Most importantly, I didn't want to seem like a tourist. I pretended that what I was doing was what I had intended to do. Some things don't change. I still pretend. I still do foolish things. I will, however, get off the wrong train now when I realize I'm on it.
Row after row of houses passed by and faded into the distance as Queens turned into one small town after another. Anytown, NY. Nothing unique. Nothing special. Concrete and gas stations charging way too much for gas. Small restaurants and hardware stores.
An hour and 27 minutes later with a train change behind me, I found myself on the platform in Sayville, NY. The shuttle bus was already there to transport me to the ferry dock where my carriage to Cherry Grove on Fire Island awaited.
On the shuttle I listened to a couple of guys in front of me bemoan the location where the NYMF show one of them was musical directing was playing: the broken down space with abysmal performance conditions and lack of moderated air conditioning. I met a couple of people sitting beside me who were also going to Fire Island for the first time. I wasn’t going to let on as if it was my first time (tourist issues), but then I thought why not? I don’t know what my problem is with being a first time doer of something. I guess it starts with not knowing exactly what to do and looking like a fool. One thing I have learned about myself since I started writing this blog is that if anything in my life needs to change it’s that I need to make a fool of myself on a regular basis. I need to stop taking myself so seriously. 
The ferry ride brought back such fond memories of last June’s ferry ride to Martha’s Vineyard and last September’s ferry ride to Provincetown. The difference this time: I was by myself; my first ever vacation alone. I was excited and scared. Maybe nervous is a better word than scared. I wasn’t sure what was going to make this any different from being at home by myself. I don’t often go out alone and if out alone I even less often introduce myself to people. I’m such an odd mix. I can be the social butterfly, belle-of-the-ball at an opening night party or other social gathering, but put me in a situation where I have to be vulnerable and actually talk to a man one-on-one - be a real person- and I almost shut down. Fear of being uninteresting, or undesirable, or looking foolish is the culprit. That’s why I need to just make a fool of myself on a regular basis so that I can get over myself and be.
Okay, so enough with the bullshit of my psychosis. I stepped off that boat into a different world; a world without cars, without bicycles, without pavement. A world where waves could be heard crashing on the shore. A world where people say “Hi” when they pass each other on the walks (The walks are boardwalks that act as streets. In Cherry Grove there are two main boardwalks that run parallel to the water connected by a series of perpendicular boardwalks. Drop the “board” though. People here refer to them simply as “walks.”) A world where it’s okay and normal if you want to be naked on the beach. A world where people live and let live. As a 15 year New Yorker I didn’t know how to react to that. I’m always on guard. The point of the trip was to relax though, right? To escape and relax. Escaping from myself might be on the agenda, too.
I couldn’t help but feel a sense of soul happiness as I stood on the beach and watched the waves of the Atlantic crash on to the shore. There is something about water that refreshes me. I don’t know what it is. I didn’t like camping at the lake as a child. I don’t like fishing. I never enjoyed swimming in the lake. Boating has never been something I sought out. But the waves of the ocean reset me - cleanse me somehow. It’s funny. I never go to any of the beaches that are easily accessible from NYC. Never. But every time I find myself in a resort town (i.e Newport, Martha’s Vineyard, Provincetown, Fire Island) something seems to come alive. Even hearing the waves crash without being able to see them makes my heart lighter. Maybe it has something to do with Gemini being an air sign and water and air being compatible. 
Turn left on Bayview Walk. Homes hidden behind fences, gates and tall reeds lined either side. The reeds reminded me of corn. Also lining the walks:  trees, bushes and other forms of landscaping. Some of it natural, some of it landscaping. The smell was green and woody with just a hint of the ocean that lay to my right. Continue pass Doctors Walk, Dureya Walk, Green Walk, Gerard Walk and Aeon Walk until you reach Maryland Walk. Take a right and then walk through the gate to the first house on the right. 
All the houses in Cherry Grove are named. My home away from home was Casita. I enjoyed the fact that people name their homes here. I am a sucker for that. In some of my own fiction writing I’ve enjoyed naming the homes of some of my wealthier characters. 
I looked around the cute little cottage that would be mine all mine for a week. I put my suitcase down in the larger of the two bedrooms then promptly left the house to place my feet in the warm sand that awaited me on the beach.
Soul-cleansing relaxation initiated.