Back in the day, I took days off from exhausting long runs in Broadway shows by renting a house on the Long Island Sound, right in Old Lyme, Connecticut. A mere two hour train ride after final curtain for the week took me to the used car rental joint where I would pick up my usual jalopy, and minutes later I would arrive in swirls of foggy night at our place on Billow Road.
I could smell the sea roses way before I got to the house, and the gentle beats of Long Island Sound waters lapping greeted me. After days of filthy stage make-up and rigorous performing, this Billow Road House was paradise the moment I unlocked the front door. The night air had cleansed me, and I would usually pour a glass of chilled wine to sit on the back deck and greet the Sound. My fatigue had magically melted away, with the knowledge that I did not have to perform the entire next day and night.
I could feel my muscles unravel. Unknit. Loosen. Settle to comfort me like a favorite sweater.
One long weekend, having earned a few days off from whatever show i was doing, I invited some pals to join me at the house, and I scattered them liberally, comfortably, around its four bedrooms.
One night, my two girlfriends and i shared a watery adventure. It was summer, but Long Island Sound chilly nonetheless. A delicious, sensuous chilly. The guys were asleep snuggly and unwakeably, as we draped blankets over our pajamas and sandaled feet to make way down the slope of the back lawn to the chilly sands of the beach. No other nights in my entire life have ever smelled like that night: salty, sweet, crisp, warm, slightly fishy and sugary. It was those mounds of glowing white sea roses. They were everywhere, so
we had to watch for thorns.
Enchanting. Mysterious, as if something gorgeous awaited us. These were safe private Connecticut beaches, no dangers lurked. A scene right out of some engraving from the 19th century. We sparkled.
It all sparkled. Our singers lungs were filled with the freshest of air. And we were alone in the moonlight.
So, quite spontaneously, without a word of discussion or agreement, we dropped our blankets, shed our jammies and inched to the waters edge. Naked as gulls.
Once the initial chill wore off, (we were Broadway performers…what was a little cold water to us?), after that initial shock, it became warm as toast and we floated, splashed, stood still in the sweet waters of the Long Island Sound as if the longer we stayed there, the younger we would grow.
Rebecca was the first to speak: “I’m hungry as hell!” Lets go raid the fridge!”
Our trio of midnight Graces dripped our way out of the warm broth of the Sound ,draped ourselves casually with clothing, and made sure our feet were dry and sand free before entering the kitchen .
Still, the guys were asleep…this was a Ladies Night for sure.
Though it would have been nice to see them in their natural feathers as well.
We had to settle for cold chicken and left-over potato salad.
Oh yeah…..and wine.
What would a night with the Bacchae have been without wine?