Beach MusicJune 7, 2010 at 5:36 am | Posted in Family, Giggles, Lollipop | 21 Comments
Tags: Beach, Children, Environment, Family, Gulf Coast, Kids, Nature, Oil, Travel, Vacation
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.
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.
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.