Today is our quarterly “Beach Clean Up.” It is also a clamming weekend. And it is a very rare early Spring sunny morning. This means that our “drivable” beach will be filled with two “lines” of folks.
The “low surf” line will typically be composed of pick-up trucks, dogs, kids, and adults with clamming guns. It will look and sound like a twenty-plus mile party. The children and dogs will frolic in the very cold rippling waves that cover bare feet and provide a natural carnival environment for all.
The second “high tide” line will be mostly grey-haired folks with the occasional parent with child and dog, forming a line of white or dark grey bags. Usually working alone or in couples, the “baggers” will zig-zag up and down and across the sand, bending constantly to clear the beach of every form of plastic, metal and glass.
For the most part, each Line ignores the other. But I have heard of times when someone driving a pickup will offer to take a full bag from a struggling beach cleaner and deliver it to the appropriate awaiting dumpster. I have never had this experience. Usually the non-cleaners speed rapidly up and down the beach, apparently unaware of the effort it takes to fill and drag large plastic bags across soft sand for a quarter of a mile or more.
I enjoy cleaning the beach. I often clean the beach when I take my walks, keeping an extra plastic bag in my pocket. My dog has learned to wait patiently, zig-zag with me and “slow” when I can no longer keep up a steady pace with the full bag. I look forward to the time when someone pulls up in a pick-up and says, “Do you want me to take that in for you?”
Kindness comes in all forms.