Saturday, September 17, 2011

Swept out to sea

My brothers and I spent many summer days at the beach with our grandmother. The very same stretch of beach Rich and I now visit with our girls and Grammy and Papa. Sometimes my parents would leave me (or a combination of me and my brothers) with Gramma for a long weekend or even a week.

I hold memories of days on the beach and I fondly recall those days with high tide. As high tide rushed in, we would scramble over to the section of sea wall, which jetted out closer to the ocean, and wait on the short concrete ledge for the waves to reach us. We would shriek and giggle as the salty foam crashed against us.

Years later, as an adult, I watched children attempt to do exactly what we did so often as kids but the lifeguard quickly shooed them away. This beach is not normally known to have large waves or an undertow but a rogue wave is always possible. It's funny that what was deemed safe so many years ago is now viewed from a different perspective.

My parents were watching my nieces, Beth and Grace, for a few days over Labor Day weekend so we headed over for a beach visit. Rich and I were hoping that it wouldn't be the last one for the year but seeing as there was a frost warning last night, it may have been. The tide looked a bit high as we headed into town and up to Grammy's house. We were keeping our fingers crossed that the tide was heading out and not in.

It was not our lucky day.

We drove down to the private beach only to find that there was no beach. Some folks hanging out on the sea wall informed us that it would be another two hours before the tide would reach its highest.


As you can see the girls were not too happy with our predicament.


So off we went to the public beach in search of empty (preferably dry) sand.


Once we found a spot and claimed it as our own, I took a short walk with my wide angle lens (Tokina 11-16mm, f/2.8) while Rich watched the girls.


The surf was fairly rough, which is was evident by the presence of surfers.





The rough surf combined with a billion people made me a Nervous Nelly that afternoon. Plus we had five kids (Beth and Grace) instead of our usual three. Grammy was with us and so we had an unspoken arrangement whereby one adult was always stationed at the chairs and one stood guard in the water.

I was up at the chairs when a stronger, rougher wave swelled and crashed, sending water rushing up well past where the tide line had been situated. Grammy had been standing ankle (now knee deep) in the water with a bunch of the kids. She herded them back up to the chairs exclaiming, "Stay up here before you are swept out to sea!"



Although the beach was extremely crowded, I was pleasantly surprised with the behavior of strangers. In situations like these, it always seems like we end up next to someone with a potty mouth or someone throwing a football over our heads. It was like Bizarro Beach Day. People were friendly. People were polite. A boy actually came over and picked up his trash that had blown into our area.


And when the tide moved in, we all moved back at the same time. (Well, the wide angle gives the appearance of more distance than there actually was.)


We had at least three different sets of questions/comments regarding the girls. I thought being dressed in completely different bathing suits and with two cousins, no one would notice. But they did. The questions and comments were not prying or annoying. Very nice, actually. And one woman even asked if they were identical. Imagine that. She should go talk to the mom at the gym.

"Do you have any other children?" That one question always stings though.




Rich has a game (Raise your hand) that he plays with the girls, mostly when they need to settle down. Later that evening, as all five girls sat around the little table waiting for their dinner to be served, he started playing the game.

"Raise your hand if you went to the beach today."

"Raise your hand if you built a sandcastle today."

"Raise your hand if you feed an elephant today."

And then Emily blurted out, "Raise your hand if you were almost swept out to sea today."


Tracy said...

Always love love love love your beach pictures!! The girls just look so precious.

Sammy said...

The girls look beautiful, as always!
You had me cracking up when I read "she should go talk to gym mom!"


Wendy said...

haha Em!! I'm always surprised to see your pics of the ocean and beaches- they're so different than our white sand/ no wave beaches on Lake Erie!