Monday, May 10, 2010

Last Times

There have been so many, and looking back, I wish I could have known. I wish I could have known it would be the last time I would hug my daddy; or the last time I would ride a horse bareback and lean forward with my cheek on her neck and smell that "horse" smell. I wish I could have known it was the last time I would pick lilacs from the bush outside my window. I wish I had known it was the last time I would reach under a "setting" hen to retrieve warm eggs or lie on my back under a plum thicket stuffing myself with wild plums. But seldom do we get the, "hey-Rachel-this-could-be-the-last-time-you-get-to-do-this" warning. So when I kept hearing about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, I kept thinking, "Have I walked those beaches for the "last time' without knowing it?"

The sugar white sands and emerald/turquoise waters of the LA (Lower Alabama) and Florida panhandle beaches have been sacred space for me all of my life. Even after we left the South, it was here we returned year after year to have our spirits renewed. My DH shares my feelings. So, when on Mon. May 3, the CNN people told us that a massive oil spill would make landfall on the LA beaches probably by Thurs., it was not a hard decision to pack up and head to the beach  lest this be the last time we see it in its pristine glory.  I am not a doom's day kind of person; but I am a realist. I am 65. If an oil slick hits this beach today, it will not be restored in my "beach-going" lifetime. So, on Wed. we left home at 9 a.m. and by 3 p.m. were on the beach.

I came to send love and energy into the water and invoke the favor of the earth that it might, one more time forgive us our transgressions and cleanse itself for our benefit.

So here we are in Orange Beach, AL, enjoying absolutely perfect conditions. Most everyone seems to have been frightened off by the news reports. We have NEVER seen this beach so empty, even in winter. You can see the concern on the faces of the people whose livelihoods depend on this beach, and you can feel the tension in every establishment you visit. When we arrived,we were told there was a ban on sports fishing but it was apparently lifted that day as there has been no sign of oil; and we saw several boats come in with magnificent catches of red snapper.
The sea was offering up all sorts of treasures for us. This was a tad unusual as this is not always a good shell beach.

There was evidence that at least some children had been around.

And this nice woman was pleased to show off the beach-ready  wheel chair she was trying out for the first time. These chairs can be rented from and what a joy this one was bringing to this lovely lady.

By Friday afternoon a few more people decided the beach was safe; and by Sat. we had a much more normal population.

The birds were there but not as numerous as in times past.

The only possible clues that all was not well were the dozen or so dead fish that had washed up at various points.

On Sunday we had to head home. We left our beloved beaches with a fervent wish for:

And with the knowledge that if this was" the last time" we would get to play on these beaches in their pristine state, at least we had done it with conscious awareness and love.

1 comment:

  1. How bittersweet your time there must have felt. Thanks for sharing the experience with us.