Delusional nature

sponsored

The shore is one of those places where nature knocks you over the head with its scale and power. Even this year, with jumbo, rusty machines and pipes taking over a large chunk of Sea Isle City’s beach with an “environmental reclamation project” in high season, right in front of where some friends of ours were staying, the wonders of the ocean, the birds and the dunes still pack their punch.

At 40th Street in Sea Isle City, the beach is open only to machines.
At 40th Street in Sea Isle City, the beach is open only to machines.

But the sand recovery project (being done in summer apparently because of a deadline of use of federal dollars and the schedule of some multi-national corporations, said our friends) also served as a nice reminder that some of what we think of as nature is really man made. The beaches narrow with each hurricane, and who knows, but by time the big rigs are done with their job, nature may have turned each reclaimed grain of sand back to the ocean bottom!

View from boardwalk in Sea Isle City
View from boardwalk in Sea Isle City
Bureaucratic regulations ruined shore vacations for some folks.
Bureaucratic regulations ruined shore vacations for some folks.

Meanwhile, thanks to this year’s natural abundance of rainfall, the gardens down the shore, which usually struggle in the harsh maritime conditions, were blooming their hearts out!  The gardens are hardly natural. And for all we know, neither are the cascades of rain (oh, shudder).

Lots of rain mean the gardens are spectacular, even near the seashore. This gardn is in Avalon.
Lots of rain mean the gardens are spectacular, even near the seashore. This gardn is in Avalon.

Is it because of the rain that I saw too many egrets to count this year? Well that’s good news. I read in the paper back in the early summer that the red knots had also seen a resurgence of their population. Yippee. I just wonder what tips the balance one way or the other. We are so egocentric that we imagine it’s all about us and what we have done. But really we’re just a piece of the equation (which is not to say we aren’t guilty as charged).

Docks obscure the edge where land and water meet.
Docks obscure the edge where land and water meet.

Of course, the so called “natural” seashore environment is surely being overwhelmed by our growing population. In Avalon, the utility wires overhead gridded up the sky, looking down a seemingly quiet street. And along the bayside inlets where people dock their boats, no shore line exists at all, just a lineup of piers.

Even in Avalon, the strip of shore nearest the water was crowded on weekdays too.
Even in Avalon, the strip of shore nearest the water was crowded on weekdays too.

In Ocean City where we were staying with Murray’s childhood friend Bruce and Bruce’s wife Lynn, the houses are chock-a-block cities of frame construction and siding, and the loss of ocean breezes inland of the beach itself means we are all prisoners of our air-conditioning. Between the air conditioning, the overbuilding, and the body heat of millions, it’s no wonder local temperatures at the shore seem more unmanageable than they used to be. I also heard on the telly that the global average ocean temperatures are up a couple of degrees, yet I thoroughly enjoyed swimming in the balmy waters so uncharacteristic of the Jersey Shore.

The man who was making this sea dragon said he was just a dad trying to entertain his kids. He entertained me, too.
The man who was making this sea dragon said he was just a dad trying to entertain his kids. He entertained me, too.

I do get that the global averages are what count and the local temperatures don’t, as far as statistics go. But what seems ironic to me is the warm waters seemed so natural, as did the sand and the people. Fathers built sand sculptures to entertain their kids. Kids build sand pies, castles, moats and forts to entertain themselves. And everyone jumped the waves, body surfed and walked along the edge of the water, parading their variety and their pleasure and not caring that we sat there for hours, watching them all.

sponsored
sponsored

Moving Artblog Forward - Celebrating 17 Years - Donate Today!

Artblog is passionate about art. If you are too, please help us in our Annual Appeal Campaign!

Donate Today!

Send this to a friend