THE SEA is the subject of this weeks Daily Press Weekly Photo Challenge. There will surely be spectacular photographs of seascapes from around the world. My own experience with the sea though, is limited to the Americas. (How wonderful it would be to live close enough to make a trip just for the Photo Challenge, but real oceanic coastline is a half day away, so that will wait.)
You never know what you’ll find when you go down to the sea – that’s the beauty of it, along with the fresh, salty air, the ever changing light, and the soundscape.
Sometimes there’s an extraordinary sunset, and city pollution may play a part in those amazing color tones.
This sunset was on Staten Island. I plunked down on the sand, transfixed:
Another evening, another east coast beach. On Topsail Island in North Carolina, a soft ocean fog created a moment in which I and a certain young man and his dog were content to to be lost.
One summer evening after finishing an assignment in a nearby town, I escaped to New York’s Fire Island to relax and watch the waves. The pristine sands caught softly colored shells and stones from clear blue waters as the shells and stones themselves caught the receding sunlight.
I wanted to linger forever at Bunche Beach on Florida’s west coast, where mangroves lined a peaceful inlet of clear, warm water and a fisherman drifted a lazy line from a rowboat.
BUT HERE’S THE RUB:
Too many shorelines are littered with our trash.
These sturdy gulls are hunkered down on a cold November afternoon on Staten Island amidst bits of plastic, bricks and debris from nearby piers. I loved going to the beach when I lived on Staten Island, but every single time I went, my joy was muted by the great disappointment of seeing so much garbage washed up onto the shoreline.
It’s potentially a pretty place, after all. As a borough of New York City (like Manhattan and Brooklyn) it is of course, jam packed with people and cars and industry. But I believe it’s ringed with promise, too.
If only respect for the oceans were second nature.
If only access to water was easier, if only the shorelines could breathe. If only…
This was shot at the same place on the same afternoon – get past the garbage on the shore and it’s a wonderful light-filled seascape.
It’s impossible not to notice a difference in attitude towards the environment when you travel west.
Yes, there’s pollution here too. And yes, sometimes I see a bit of garbage on the beach, but overall it’s far cleaner. It just is. I know there are fewer people – far fewer – and I realize that clean beaches exist not far from the city of New York. But I see a greater respect for the land out here and I don’t know what combination of left coast environmentalism and history and perhaps less poverty creates this respect for the land, but it’s a good thing.
A very good thing.
This colorful detritus washed up on Rialto Beach, on the Washington coast one October afternoon. Bright colors, yes. Plastic, no.
Here’s another look at that (very clean) beach.
I think it boils down to respect.
All these beaches – all our beaches on this little blue spinning ball we depend on – are worth respecting.
More Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge entries on the subject of The Sea can be found here.