This morning I went straight to Sachuest Point.

As I walked the path that hugs the perimeter, I passed the fishermen staggered along the rocks below, buckets by their feet, poles in their hands, passing hours with the crashing surf, rising sun and gulls for company—as my grandfather used to do long before I met him.

When I walk the trail at Sachuest Point, I have my friend June for company–and memories of walking with her on the windy bluff. June died Easter morning earlier this year. She had served as a Rhode Island state senator for 24 years, representing Newport/Middletown/Tiverton/Little Compton.

Sachuest Point was her baby. She worked hard to have the former Navy site transformed into a protected area and a federal wildlife refuge. Where there was once a shooting range and lookout towers, now there’s the sound of the surf, benches facing the ocean and trails where visitors can see deer, rabbits and owls. There are points where people can step up to binoculars and watch and identify migratory birds.

“June was a great lady,” my Aunt Prudy said yesterday. “I never head a word said against her.”

June knew how to bring people together. She wouldn’t see a divide. She’d see a place to build a bridge—or a place of refuge and a local treasure for generations to come.

It’s October now. A couple of years ago on a crisp October day, June invited me to go to the Cape—one last visit way past the end of season. We arrived just before sunset. The water called us. We knew it would be cold—and we put on our suits and plunged into the surf.

The cold took our breath away and sent our pulses racing, our teeth chattering. We were blissful and giddy as school kids—splashing the pure, brief joy of the moment.

June was spontaneous and optimistic. She laughed a lot and she loved the ocean, especially Sachuest Beach and the point.

I wrote this at the beach today. The tide was rolling in. There was a stiff breeze and a bit of surf.

I decided to dive in.

Just like June would have.

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