When I first moved to Wilmington, the biggest draw for me was the ocean. I got a surfboard and quickly learned the ways of the ocean. Most of my weekends are spent on the sand or in the water. The ocean grounds me. She’s a capricious mistress, as I found out the hard way by nearly dying in heavy seas, but her ebb and flow speak to my soul.
When I first moved here my co-worker gave me pause: she never left an AC-controlled environment all summer long. “Go to the beach?” she said in an exasperated tone, as if I suggested trudging through a swamp at dusk, “Why? It’s hot, the blazing sun’s out, there’s bugs, and you get sand everywhere. Ew. No thanks.” I come to find out, many of my fellow Wilmingtonians never went to the beach. I really fell off my rocker when I learned many children here never experienced a day at the beach with their family and the kids in the poorer sections of town had never seen the ocean. I was not prepared for that. I thought everyone here would go to the beach!
I couldn’t imagine not going to the beach. I visit the beach in winter, too, and I feel a difference in my soul when it’s been weeks since I get to the strand. When we were house hunting and contemplating an area more inland, I noticed the difference in the air and temperature once I got away from the ocean and I didn’t like it. I’m glad my house is only a few miles as the crow flies from the Atlantic. I couldn’t have it any other way.
And now, because of the virus quarantine protocols, they have closed the beaches. “$@%,” I said when I saw the news. I know why they’re doing it and I agree with why they’re doing it. My head knows it, but my heart doesn’t.
The worst part about being in the medical community is that it erases all hope. It’s so much easier to hang onto hope and look beyond the reality of a situation without medical knowledge. Our dear leaders keep saying things will turn around “another week or so,” but it doesn’t work that way, no matter how much they say it. Once I saw the beaches close, I knew it would be for months, not merely weeks, and my surfing and beach time was now an act against the law.
I’m a law-abiding citizen. Cops and I have never gotten along well, so it is everything I can do to keep them away. Despite this, I started trespassing on private property, however, in a desperate attempt to find a place near by house to access the Intracoastal Waterway. All of my attempts were thwarted by guard dogs and scary looking “NO TRESPASSING” signs. I was successful in finding one spot – again, technically I am trespassing because I do not do not own property in this neighborhood – but a kind elderly gentleman said it would be okay. This is as close as I can get to the beach nowadays.
A summer without the beach? I’m hesitant to think about it too much.
Wrightsville Beach opened today, but alas, public parking is not allowed and I’m not desperate enough for 20 mile walk round trip. I hope other beaches will open. I know enough honey holes on the island to be far, far away from the crowds (especially for illegally suntanning). I’m contemplating buying a backpack for my surfboard so I can easily carry it down the beach, if I have to walk a mile or so. I’ve also shopped around for kayaks, but the 2 mile walk to the public dock with kayak in tow has me rethinking that plan.
“Give us this day our daily bread,” says the Lord’s prayer. We don’t live that way in modern America, but I have a feeling that I will be living like that more often than not in the days to come.
I hope that bread is full of vitamin sea.