Cleaning the Ocean

Every year, we trek down to Daytona Beach, usually in October or November. It’s the time we use to get rid of all the stuff we’ve been carrying with us throughout the year. We were set to go down the last week of October, when all of a sudden The Weather Channel erupted with talk of Hurricane Matthew. It’s always difficult to tell with The Weather Channel, since they throw around words like “massive”, “deadly”, and “run for your lives” with alarming frequency.

Daytona Beach Pier

The storm passed by a few weeks before our vacation, producing more damage than has been done in years. TWC was probably disappointed that the whole state didn’t fall into the ocean, but we can’t have everything.

The place we normally stay in had a little water damage, so we stayed in another condo in the same building. One of our favorite restaurants, Our Deck Down Under, lost about half of its pier and a ton of roof shingles, but it was open. Tia Cori’s, a must-visit while in Daytona, looked like nothing had ever happened. First world problems, we said. Oh dear, our view of the ocean will be sullied by a bit of construction.

Our Deck Down Under

The first night, we slept in fits and starts, struggling with stressful dreams, while outside, the ocean drifted softly into shore, depositing remnants of the long-past storm in the sand.

Our usual pattern is to take the proverbial long walk on the beach in the morning. Every year we talk over our current state of life and every year we come up with new, creative ideas to overcome our current state of life. For some reason, I would never take my camera. Each time we would take a walk, we would see something and say, “Well, we should have brought the camera.” And yet I never did. Maybe I was worried I’d drop it in the ocean, or sand would get in it, or an osprey would swoop down and steal it from around my neck, whatever excuse was in vogue.

Forget all that this year, I thought. I’m taking it along.

The ocean didn’t disappoint. The first few days, the sea’s offerings came in two separate packages; in the form of tumbleweed-like collections of reeds, and in strange, red roots.

Sea HairballRed RootThe next few days, man-made objects made their way on to the beach, as if the ocean were tossing out its junk. One morning, we found close to fifteen beached flip-flops.

Flip FlopAnd then, when it seemed like the ocean had no more garbage to toss, we found this:

Drown Your TelevisionMost likely this television was on a ship, because it was encased in a metal box. How it got in the ocean is anybody’s guess, but needless to say, the ocean didn’t need it.

It is a great reminder of how little we really need. We’re fooled by the speed of life into thinking we’re accomplishing things, or we’re fooled by our own successes into thinking that we’ve achieved something, when in reality you miss so much if you don’t take the time. We walked and we talked and we got rid of our own junk on the shore, and wondered to ourselves how we could make these sorts of moments happen every day.

 

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