Thursday, February 25, 2010

Summer And the Beach

Last Sunday my husband and I took a ride to Assateague on the Virginia side. To most of you that have live in the surrounding areas all of your lives you know that the beach is very much a huge part of your summer life.

What I saw on the beach that day simply broke my heart. I have walked that beach so many times in my life I once felt I new every pebble by name. Many of you will agree. Please take a moment to see what it looked liked on February 21, 2010.

Unless you own a camel and that camel can walk a great distance don't plan on any parking. The parking lots are gone. The circle that once gave us the option for "north end" or "south end" is gone. The ocean has moved in and though the Yield sign still stands there is no reason to.

The ocean and the beach have always been an important part of my life. Teenage years were spent lying in the

sand with the radio on, baby oil and iodine, swapping stories with my best friends, and napping. Those were the days when

we all thought the sun was our best friend and a good beach day was from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon.

No need to take a cooler with food. There was a resturant right there on the beach! Yep. The resturant even had a gift shop.

No need to worry about tourist too much. And can you acutally believe that once you parked

your car in the morning you could leave for lunch on Chicoteague and go back to beach and park in the

original parking spot! You sure could.

This electric wire cables were probably connected to the electric poles that once ran along the paved road and now sit almost at the waters edge. The gas line is in the water and I am sure upon hide tide the copper tubing cannot be seen.

That wire cable is just about where the info station and first aid station had been a few years ago. The boarded walkways our children once ran down and the benches, the iformation and first aid stations are now part of the ocean.

We all thought at the time Assateague would always be there. And it has been. I toted both of my children as toddlers to the beach. As they grew they knew on my days off from work we would be going to the beach. When they became older so did their friends and I ended taking all the kids to Assateague. Then in their teens the ideas of beach parties came along. And because they loved the beach as I do we had one beach party to start the summer and one to end it. Thank goodness by this time all of them could drive.

Oh, I have seen the changes. But the one thing that put an end to the enjoyment of the sand, sun and ocean was the sudden popularity of the beach. None of us could ever get used to the feeling of strangers being so close on the beach. When you're used to having all that sand for yourself for all those years and suddenly can't seem to stretch out and relax it's no fun. Tourism had hit the beach! By this time my kids were grown and could go alone and sit in line behind them and fight over a spot in the sand. I wasn't. But I have.

I've left lots of memories on that beach. I've cried alot of tears, had alot of kisses from old boyfriends and chatted many many hours with friends. I've made sand castles, dug holes, dug for sand crabs, picked up shells and jumped the breakers with my kids. I've explained sea nettles and porpoises and fish and crabs to the tourists. I've seen some of the most beautiful kites snap and fly into the ocean. And I wondered if
we were supposed to return the sand our kids took home in their bathing suits. I've seen beautiful sunsets and, yes, sunrises.

And through the years I learned that the ocean was NOT the best place to be during a thunderstorm. But I never once came home with a bad sunburn. And I learned at a young age what undertow is without almost drowing simply by watching others.

I have no idea what lies ahead for my dear friend Assateague. I can tell you that there were pieces of heavy equipment there and as you can see in the photos they have been working to restore some dunes. Other than that time will tell and I guess it just depends how many more nor'easters we have this season. After all we don't
own the ocean and we sure can't tame it.

But there is one very good thing to report about the day. The Chicoteague ponies were out strolling. Now that's a peaceful thought.

I leave you with this beautiful poem written by someone that I know well and respect a great deal.

The ocean

The ocean she’s slick as a books open page
In a blink of an eye she takes out her rage

Fisherman prosper from her giving ways
She pleasures her patrons on hot summer days

Pirates have sailed her with not a fear
Only to find they soon disappear

She’s as gentle as a kitten, light winds in the air
She’ll lash out with anger and give you a scare

The respect that she’s asking not meant to cower
The ocean she’s silent then rumbles with power

She will hold you, caress you, and fill you with joy
Or she can toss you, and throw you like playing with a toy

Men sailed her, and fished her, sought treasure for fare
She held them; she fed them, with not a care

Others they tempted to conquer her fate
She swallowed them up and left not a trace

They’ve tried to control her powers you see
She shows them whose boss when they go to sea

Treat her like a lady, respect what she hails
Or you may be at rest with the Andrea Gail

The Ocean

I'll be back to check on you, old friend.


Clara Mae said...

Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing them.

For many of us Assateague has been part of our lives. As noted, we've seen many changes over the years and for those of us with 4 wheel drives packing a cooler and loading up the kids for a Sunday at the beach was great fun for the entire family.

The Chincoteague ponies have always been a thrill to see. It's one place left in this world where the wild is left to it's own devices.

When the invasion of tourists began we adapted as best we could but the thought of sitting in your vehicle waiting to get on the beach became a reason for many of us to not even bother to pack a cooler and load up the kids for a Sunday on the beach.

Should we leave Mother Nature to her own devices and let the natural order of things prevail or should we intervene and restore the beach to the way we want it? It's a question that I've often pondered.

Anonymous said...

My parents took the 3 of us children 4 wheeling down their even as infants. My mom says that's maybe why none of us can sit still now :) :) :)