Beach Music

June 7, 2010 at 5:36 am | Posted in Family, Giggles, Lollipop | 21 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

About a year ago, we took Lollipop and Giggles to the beach for the first time.

We rented a house; stuffed swimsuits, sheets, suitcases, groceries, and our giant black Lab into the car; and drove to Dauphin Island, Alabama, where my parents joined us.

Jumping In
We spent a week dipping our toes into the chilly water, then retreating back to our canopied tent to escape the whipping wind. We gathered shells and wrote our names in the sand with driftwood. We ate homemade popsicles, cooked s’mores over a sunset campfire, and grilled fish plucked from the nearby gulf. We watched a storm blow through.

As we sampled fresh, flaky croissants from the local bakery, we marveled at the damage still apparent from Hurricane Katrina. We bought kites from one of the kitschy souvenir shops. We visited a nearby Civil War fort where, instead of Confederate soldiers, fire ants marched across the parade grounds.

We thought maybe we would take the ferry across the bay to the Florida side. But we napped and blew bubbles off the porch instead. Next year, we said. There’s always next year.

Taking Chances
You see, we planned to go back. We planned to make it an annual trip, a chance to relax and spend time with our family. A chance to sit, drink a cold beer, and watch the hermit crabs scurry into the surf. A chance to crack open a good book and read the whole thing with our feet buried in the warm sand.

But we missed our chance. We won’t be going back. This year or next year or the next.

Because the sand where my children built their first castle is now an oil-and-tar-slicked mess. Because the birds we shooed away from our peanut butter sandwiches have feathers coated with oil. Because the ferries have been replaced with ships transporting equipment, executives, and scientists.

Now and Then
Because each day 800,000 gallons of oil are spewing into the ocean. And no one knows how to stop it.

Next year, we said. There’s always next year. And now, there’s not.

Now, there’s wasteland instead of beach. Now, there’s crippled wildlife instead of a thriving ecosystem. Now, there’s despair instead of anticipation.

Now, there are only memories.


Thanks to my friend Country-Fried Mama for telling me about the online “Love the Gulf” effort. Post your own Gulf memories through Deb on the Rocks.



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  1. When I started reading your post I was already getting ready to comment on how here in Sydney we really take the beach for granted. How we forget that a visit to the beach is a ‘trip’ for some families. But, wow, by the end of your post I realised that we REALLY take our beaches for granted. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Wow. Just wow. There are so many lessons to learn from this.

  3. What a beautiful, touching story. I can’t imagine being so close to this horrific tragedy – I grew up on a white sand beach on Canada’s East coast and I am definitely guilty of having taken it for granted sometimes.

  4. Thank you for sharing. The oil spill and all it’s thousand ramifications just breaks my heart in so many ways

  5. Pretty much living at the beach up here on the Vineyard, we are watching all this coverage with personal horror. This could be our home, our livelihood. What’s happening there is beyond horrific, and far from over. Thanks for posting this very personal reminder of what this means to everyone!

  6. Stacia, thank you for bringing light to this tragedy and how it affects us in so many ways. In 2000, I was in NYC when I thought, having visited the Empire State Building observatory deck first, I would visit the Twin Towers the next time I went back to the city. Except they weren’t there the next time I was.

    All of this just reminds me to be grateful for the time that we have, and to do as much as we can now instead of only planning for the future. We are guaranteed our present – it’s the future that won’t always be there.

  7. My girlfriend’s wedding was to be this July near the panhandle of Florida… on the beach. I haven’t heard back from her about where they may have to reschedule it at. The lasting damage that has been done and is STILL being done is phenomenal.

  8. oh that sucks :(. When are they going to fix that disaster???Beautiful writing. It is so true that you can’t count on anything to still be there tomorrow. Carpe Diem.

  9. Beautifully written! My heart aches for our Gulf, for the animals, the people.

  10. Ugh, the whole thing is just heart breaking. Absolutely terrifying and horrifying, and utterly ridiculous that there are massive amounts of oil (and still leaking) in the Gulf. I just can’t stand it!!!!

  11. Stacia, this is so articulate, sad and sadly true. I lament for your vacation and grieve for the ocean, the beach, the wildlife, the livelihoods. It is tragic and scary, and this post demonstrates it really effectively – and personally. Thanks.

  12. It is so terrible isn’t it, the devastation wrought by this disaster.

  13. Amen, sister.

  14. Ah, I’m so sad for you. We watch that tragedy unfold from the other side of the world, horrified that someone can’t DO SOMETHING. But to have it on your own doorstep. So sorry. BP should be ashamed at the way this whole thing has been handled. They seem to have forgotten it’s about all of us, not just them.

  15. It is just a damn shame.

  16. Oh man. This is horrible. The damage done is irreparable.

  17. That’s so sad! I’m sorry you lost your special place. I hope you can find another one that brings you such joy.

  18. Beautiful post. Horrible happenings. Your family will create beautiful vacation memories somewhere else, but you shouldn’t have to.

  19. Stacia, thanks for bringing a headline down to the personal, to the very real loss of a beach, of a summer with the kids. It’s beyond belief.

  20. Wonderful and poignant post. These stories of how this disaster touches people – and children – on such a personal level are important. The whole thing’s just horrible.

  21. im too sad to write

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