WORTH RESPECTING

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:

Sunset at Lemon Creek Pier

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.


58 comments

  1. Beautiful images, Lynn. I too feel frustrated by the trash that often litters beaches all over the world. I really wonder why everyone doesn’t have the same respect for beautiful places as we do.

  2. I suspect that part of the thing that keeps many of our West Coast beaches cleaner is that there are a lot of folks who make a day of cleaning up trash. I know there’s an annual beach cleanup each spring where masses of folks descend to pick up tons of trash. I generally carry a bag for any bits I find on my walks, as do other folks I know. Oregon has a law where there is no private ownership of access to our beaches within a certain distance of the high tide mark. Perhaps folks feel a pride of ownership in beaches which essentially belong to them. I hope it remains that way as we, too, are seeing more and more development happening.

    • Hi, thanks so much for your thoughts. The sheer numbers of people in the metro NYC area make it pretty tough to keep up with all the trash. A few people do try, but it’s hardly noticeable. I’m glad you and others carry a bag to pick up the little bits. It seems a fair bet that beaches here will stay clean, and NY will catch up a little, in time, but it’s hard to imagine city beaches as clean as what’s out here. Probably not a fair comparison either.

  3. Pingback: Photo Project ’52 Bolivian Sundays’ [week 35, 'Sea']. Okay, no sea in Bolivia, but… | 3rdculturechildren

  4. fantastic photos full of atmosphere. It’s really a crime to find all this garbage at the beaches. As a shell collector I’m sometimes astonished what kind of strange things I find at the beach.

    • Honestly, when I looked at my photos of the sea, the impact of seeing garbage on the beach came back to me and so I thought I would write about that, and show a photo that has both the garbage and the “normal” beach scenery – the one with the gulls. It’s something that has always bothered me, but typically I am reluctant to get on a soapbox so I don’t often talk about it. But it was very clear that this was the story, so I told it.

  5. Pingback: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea (1) | Bastet and Sekhmet

  6. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea Through My Heart | Molly Greye

    • Human/corporate – a good point – some of the pollution & garbage is certainly due to corporate policies. But of course that leads back to the humans who made them and follow them. And I think one good thing is that artists like yourself help remind people to notice and care for the whole and the parts.

  7. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sea (at Galilee) | JaniceHeck

  8. Wow, what gorgeous beach shots (the clean ones!). So sad that some people don’t respect these magnificent places. You first image here remins me of a Rothko painting with all those layers of color!

  9. Beautiful!

    We are lucky living on a small island, the beaches are usually clean except on river estuaries near big cities, and wherever you live, the sea is rarely more than an hour’s drive. Eventually we hope to live by be sea. I think human beings are happier when they live near water xx

  10. Congratulations on being featured on The Daily Post, that’s a nice reward for the time and effort you’ve put into your web site on WordPress. To be honest, I didn’t know anything about The Daily Post until now. It looks interesting and I bookmarked it as a way to perhaps start getting more connected with other people on WordPress. Though I enjoy blogging on WP, I’m a social media flunkee. I seem to repel people……by doing things like leaving blathering comments longer than three sentences. By the way, I saw the bio on TDP about your MSW background. I’m an MSW from another life. And about NY…..did you live in the city? We have new neighbors (March) from Manhattan. I’ve been a little worried about them. They never, ever leave the house. But in our fleeting encounters, they seem quite happy (though a little bemused at Seattleites).

    • So funny! I bet they’re in shock – I was! Thanks for your appreciation. It really can be rewarding to connect with others here – one of the things I love is the far-flung aspect – there’s a wonderful photographer from Tasmania, an artist in Ecuador, and then there are folks like yourself, in one’s own backyard. Feel free to leave long comments – works for me (it must be that MSW thing)!

  11. I wandered here or shall we say drifted whilst checking out whether to approve your comments on my own blog – and boy you hit the mark here unfortunately I am short of time work is calling but I will be back as I feel very strongly about respecting the shoreline and I have a feeling our atitude to blogging is pretty similar – Scott


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s