I followed a trail down through the woods, winding in a random way to the beach, up a short little rise and down again, laced with tiny pebbles and pockets of sand and jagged broken shells. I remember thinking how peaceful and quiet everything seemed to be. But I thought how the path I was on wound its way through the woods for an awfully long time. It was still just as pretty, no matter how long it seemed to be. But I felt a little guilty how something so right and so in place all of a sudden seemed well, you know, so boring.

I tried to figure it all out. The needles on the trees were all in line. The flow of the trail, the tracks of the sand, were all alike. It was a clear sunny day. The sky was blue from one end to another. I saw a wisp of cloud. It seemed to know I was watching: a far away wind blew it over the horizon and it disappeared.

What did this all mean? Nature has a certain symmetry, I suppose. One thing logically follows another, that’s the way nature works. Okay (I guess): there’s a certain order to all things. And more often than not, we’re comfortable with that; it gives us peace of mind in doing one thing and knowing what to expect. But how much of that do we all need?

Are we too old to look for surprises? When does sameness lead to something different? I’ve lived in the same house for more than twenty years. But when I go on vacation, I like to go somewhere far away and do something different. When I was single, I could date a pretty girl, but I’d never date her sister. When a TV show is kind of predictable, I change the channel. This kind of stuff happens all the time.

So here’s my point. The powers that be are talking about taking Long Beach and Seaview and putting them both together. And frankly, the whole thing is disturbing. As my mother used to say, “why fix it if it ain’t broke?”

I’m always impressed by Seaview, plenty of stately homes, each one a tribute to the vision of sea captains and leaders in local industry, finely crafted lawns, handsome hedges, beds of flowers and grand lawn furniture. I like driving through Seaview, if only to enjoy the grandeur of a more formal time.

And I do enjoy Long Beach, more for the joy of the tourist factor, for the places to eat, for the shops and the treasures to be found in such a wide variety of things to buy. Let’s face it: Long Beach is fun!

So now I’m confused. Why would you want to put these two, these two very distinct places, together, and pretend they’re one? Perhaps a tourist couple might want one place to go, and not the other. They have the ocean to share. But beyond that, the two separate names to these two very separate towns (notice I said two places, two because they’re not alike) have only a little in common.

I want people to understand that they have a choice when they come here.

If you take too many places and join them into one, you lose the characteristics of them both, like a TV dinner that loses its flavor simply because it tries to please everyone. One place might vote Democratic; the other might vote Republican. Are they the same because they’re both political? Of course not (and for that we’re grateful).

Don’t make legislation to fit the times. Some things stay the same (and that’s good) but please, pay attention, encourage diversity on the Peninsula, pay attention to the dividing lines and realize that neighborhoods can all be different and all worthwhile. They’re valuable to those of us who share our wealth. We all seem to be getting along, people and nature, with all our differences. I for one enjoy seeing whatever lies around the next bend in the road. Thank goodness that each one is different.

What’s at stake is the loss of charm.

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