Recently from the last winter storm to hit the coastline of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, I saw photos of my hometown beaches ripped apart, torn away and totally devastated. As quickly as I saw these images, old images of years gone by flashed before me. For these were not just photos of beautiful Cape Cod beaches eroding. These are photos of my childhood memories being washed away.
Yes, nature can be cruel and unforgiving. And, how does one deal with loss when it is of such magnitude? My heart feels heavy thinking about those people who have suffered insurmountable loss due to earthquakes and tornados. I cannot imagine their pain.
However, I do know the feeling of a memory washed away. Of a certain place that made me the person I am today. A place now being stripped away on the brink of distinction. How many times have we walked this shoreline, in certain places and at some point in time, where our footsteps were the only ones to be seen? A footprint in the sand that within seconds was washed away.
There is not a soul who has lived by the sea who does not feel such a strong connection. The ocean is medicinal. It is healing, it is calming, it is wise. It has helped us to cope, to cry, to rejoice. It is an arm around us, it is a listening ear. What better friend can we have?
So, when we witness its destruction, the demise of its shore, we can only feel sadness. Yes, perhaps in the distance a new shoreline is being created but that is not compensation. Our childhood friend has left us.
A dear friend wrote this of the beaches he so loves:
… the beaches have been a huge part of my life... I was at some of my favorite places on earth… places I had walked and fished (in the dark) for years... places I had memorized… and had no clue where I was… all my bearings… my inner compass... now gone.
I am more than grateful for what I was privileged to have growing up on Cape Cod. And certainly for all the sea gave to me, I will forever be in its debt.