By: Stacey Ebert
There’s a saying we’ve often seen written on pieces of driftwood and sold in the touristy shops just off the beach. It reads ‘if you’re lucky enough to live at the beach, you’re lucky enough’ and with our recent overseas summer travel having gifted me perspective, I once again know that I wholeheartedly agree with that saying. It tugs at my heart and reminds my toes once again how joyful it is to each day run through the sand.
From my spot on the sand at Azores Beach, just outside my building in Long Beach, New York, I sit watching the waves crash at the shore while our friendly lifeguards sit atop the stand guarding the ocean-going participants. On this last ‘official’ summer weekend people once again hit the beach for what some believe to be the last hurrah, but we, the lucky ones, know otherwise. The lifeguards will no longer arrive each morning, the trucks will cease to drive in the makeshift emergency lane and the lieutenants will close up headquarters on National Beach only to head off to other jobs or locations before they return next Memorial Day.
As this was my second summer not working (by choice) I was given the gift of time and much of it was spent on my old orange beach chair under my umbrella on Azores Beach. I walked the Long Beach boardwalk every morning waving at the same early morning crowd. There were those working out, reading, chatting with friends, checking out the surf breaks and others enjoying the smell of the sea who would be there each day as I walked those 2.2 miles each way and tapped the railings at each end to make it count. The lifeguards took their spots by nine each morning and spent the day in the Long Beach sun changing outfits with the change in the weather while always having a watchful eye on beach and ocean goers alike.
The smell of the sea and the feel of the sand has always been a part of my life but it is this weekend as others pack away their chairs and umbrellas that I am overcome with the feeling of just how lucky I am. Lucky that is that for those of us who live here there is always ‘beach season’. It may be sweatpants instead of sarongs and sweatshirts instead of bikinis but the sand and the sea never disappoint. A walk along the waters edge as the waves crash and the white foam slides over your toes sinking your feet ever so slightly deeper into the sand is a sure-fire way to forget your daily worries. With each crash of the wave the ocean provides answers to life’s deepest questions and gives solace to those searching for that elusive inner peace.
With homemade s’mores cupcakes in hand to deliver to our lifeguards as a thank you for the summer, Mathew and I sat on our beach awaiting that 6pm whistle. Along with our fellow beach goers from our condo at the shore, we clapped as the lifeguards journeyed from their chair and down the mound of sand knowing that when the lifeguard stands come down for their winter rest we will be ready in eight months time to see them rise again in all of their orange glory. When that last whistle blew signifying their departure and the ‘unofficial’ end to beach season, we once again wiggled our toes in the sand and remembered that our season doesn’t have to end and we truly are lucky enough.