Behind the Tide

Earlier this summer, M.M. and I packed up the two teenagers and headed to the beach, to one of our favorite coastal towns.

We had been there before.  It’s the perfect place for family fun in the day and other kinds at night.  There prevails an old school carny atmosphere and brassy charm.   This town reminds me of a big-mouthed quickly aging carnival queen with a great right-hook and a heart of gold.

Needless to say, I love it there and my family does too.  The last time we went there, it rained the entire time.  We had a good time, but not a great one and this time, we vowed would be the best time ever.

I like to play travel agent so I did some research and found us a nice place with two extra bedrooms, an indoor pool, room service, and all the extras (free coffee!) at a price that we could afford; in other words, I did the impossible for that town at that time. And while I’m patting myself on the back for being so utterly brilliant,( save your applause for the end)   Take a look-see at the beauty which is part of our Great United States

Those are some of the reasons why we like it here so much.  I have a fondness for the Ocean that is almost instinctive.   The sound of the surf is like no other sound, it feels so comforting..so natural..the sound pulls me in and embraces me in tranquility.  The warm sand below my feet, the cerulean sky above and the yellow sun shining down .. I could almost stay there forever….. 

We have just arrived and I am eager to get to the sand.  Our suite is just what we expected and I hastily unpack and then, with my 16-year-old in tow…head to the sand and surf.

My need to be in the center of everything left us with a three block walk to the beach, this I did not mind since we passed by several shops and the cutest little mall…..There I taught my son a valuable lesson in patience and bought myself a new hat!  

Topped with my new hat we headed to the beach proper where we were greeted with a wall of humanity 10 feet thick.  I had never seen so many bodies pushed up together in one area, they reminded of seals or walrus packed up together like that.

There was music playing, little girls with fat stomachs in tiny bikinis gyrated to a Gaga tune, old furry men sat and drank beer while their too brown wives tanned their hides in the sun, the sweet smells of marijuana and coco butter mixed with the late afternoon heat, producing a pungent but intriguing aroma.

I had to get to that sand!  I ran ahead and ditched my shoes on the way, soon I’d be there… and then I was there,, I almost cut myself on brown beer bottle glass!  What? My eyes scanned the sand; It looked all used up.. a million footprints, cigarette butts and trash all over.  I almost felt like crying……..

We had been to this very same spot 18 months earlier and now it seemed so different, it was loud and raunchy, the aging carnival queen with the heart of gold, had been replaced by a mean old barfly with bad teeth and even worse breath. 

And then I saw “The Bitch”, she was new on the scene but I could tell that she would be a major player soon.  She wore the name of a famous chain hotel, utilitarian looking and gigantic, it was like Nazi’s had designed her.  What a monstrosity.  

She dwarfed the other hotels. They looked old and cheap in her shadow, I had no trouble imaging what would happen to these old gals in the near future..The fact that one already sported a “for sale” sign was just more handwriting on the wall.

The older I get, the more history in the making I get to witness, some of it is exciting, some of it is sad or scary, some of it is quiet and slow and steady and before you know it has already happened. 

No matter what happens, something is always happening and change is inevitable, especially with us humans.  Building bigger and higher and newer. In our race to keep up, do we ever notice if this race is one we should be running?  

I watch the poor patrons of this hotel trying to make the best of their vacation by swimming in a pool while construction workers with power tools hammer and drill above them, I can’t believe this…one drops his tool; he yells down to us, asking if we can see it in the tall beach grass.   We shake our heads “no”  and get the hell out of there.

The sun is setting as we start walking back and I can’t help but feeling that this will be our last time here… and I am reminded of a quote

“The earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge; for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future”

**Marya Mannes (1904-1990)

Happy Labor Day–Strawberryindigo.

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