By Maggie O’Neill
Photography by Jim O’Connor

Brian Wilson sang about a world where he could go and tell his secrets to in the song In My Room. For many of us on LBI that world is a green bench that sits atop the dune at the end of each street in Ship Bottom.

The bench is there for us when sadness fills our world. To sit overlooking the beach at daybreak and watch the sun rise up over the water is profound solace to an aching heart. Worry, grief or fear all seem to lessen a bit when sitting on the bench. Even everyday thoughts feel more like prayers atop a dune. Perhaps it’s the vastness of the sea that comforts us. Maybe it’s the rhythmic sound of the waves that soothes our spirit. Whatever it is, the bench never fails to wrap its green around our hurt and help it heal.

Likewise, it sits waiting for us like a friend the times we go there to rejoice. It provides the perfect spot to bask in exuberance. On those special days the sand feels warmer, and the water looks more blue. Life feels good.

Sitting on the bench is like sharing your soul with a friend. It’s a friend to turn to when you need to cry. It’s a friend who warms you when your heart is cold. It’s a friend who laughs with you when the day is filled with joy. It’s a friend who whispers to you as you sit atop the dune and contemplate the mysteries of this strange journey, we call life.

The green bench. It would make a great song.

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