Cool winds blew across the sand this past weekend and with them we had 4 days of fun in the warm salty Gulf. Mornings brought a chill to the air and long sleeve rash guards were scavenged out of forgotten corners where we store surf gear.
There is something perfect about this time of year. It feels like our beaches become private sanctuaries just for us. The tourists have gone home and with them the noise and chaos of a crowded beach. It is like another world.
There is a question that I often hear about the forest: “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there, did it make a noise?”. Can questions like that be asked about the seaside after the crowds are gone?
I have to wonder if, once all the people leave, do the waves make a sound when they fall upon the sand bars, crashing and churning; the drums of the sea? If no eyes are watching, do crabs dance across the sand in a slow waltz instead of in a fearful sprint from hole to hole? Does the shadow of the pier fall across the sand in perfect geometry without obstacles hiding in its shade? Will the waves sigh in relief when they no longer must erase footprint scars gashed into the sand? Do turtles float on the surface of the water instead of quickly surfacing and dashing back into the safety of the sea? Can sharks swim lazily through the shallows without hundreds of legs to navigate through and can the jellyfish glide silently, tentacles streaming behind in a veil without disturbance? Do the sea gulls cry out and become beautiful, graceful sea birds again in the absence of mankind labeling them the rats of the sea?
Yes. The crowds are gone and the music carries on…even more so.
Alone, I walk with my board down the beach and I hear the waves crashing as they have done for hundreds upon thousands of years. Heavenly sounds that enchant me and make me fall deeply in love. Sadness washes over me as I see the sea push trash up on the beach as if to say “Take it from me please. There is so much and I have to go back for more”. I reach down, pick up a plastic milk jug and let the wind carry my words across the water; “Winter is here. Rest easy and recover my dear friend”.
How arrogant we are to think the music of the forest or tides does not ring true with solitude. Sound is not dependant upon human ears. The music of the tide is always playing. It plays for the dolphins, crabs, turtles, sharks and rays….yes, even the jellyfish.
Its notes float across the lonely dunes, happening upon my doorstep, beckoning me like a siren to come to its empty, winter shores.
Like the sailors of old, I am helpless to her call.