Cleaning Up Our World

If I lived in Corpus I’d be a Beach Bum. Not the kind that lays around drinking beer and scratching mosquito bites, but one like the gentleman I met yesterday. He was picking up trash on the beach next to his truck and a sign that read, “Beach Bums have adopted this beach.” Not unlike the organizations that adopt a section of a highway, picking up the trash and getting a little publicity for their efforts.

He explained there is always a lot to do since the young “hooligans” party most nights, doing their “wheelies” on the longest stretch of beach in the world that allows driving.  It’s not just the unsettling of the sand; it’s the beer cans, pop bottles, and food wrappers that glisten in the morning sun. And if not for his and others efforts, these objects would be washed back into the gulf, a body of water that’s had more than her share of intrusion of late from foreign objects.

Walking south along the coast, I’m hyper-vigilant for objects that don’t belong in what has become for me through the years, sacred space. I enjoy seeing the sea weed, shells and jelly fish, an orange tangled in the tentacles of the seaweed, a section of tree bark, and the outer shell of a coconut. But the bottles and beer cans, a hypodermic needle, fishing hooks, and those familiar plastic bags that take 5000 years to decompose, if they don’t go home with those that “brung” them, someone needs to place them in one of the trash can that dot the beach’s landscape.

Continuing my walk along the water’s edge, with zigzagged detours to the garbage cans, I lose touch with our dog, Clancy who is frolicking on his own path, pursing smells undetectable to me. We pass a girl and her father constructing a sand castle using a method of dripping wet sand and allowing it to build up like frosting on a cake. I comment that their masterpiece reminds me of the work of the Spanish architect Gaudi. On the way back, before I can stop him, Clancy romps through the edge of the sandcastle, and I am left apologizing to the young girl.

Unlike the recent damage to the Gulf the sandcastle is easily restored. But not so, the natural structures of our vulnerable world. Thank God and Goddess for the Beach Bums and others who work to clean up our messes. I’m waiting for the day when no one would dare to disregard the admonishments on the ubiquitous local signs and bumper stickers, “Don’t mess with Texas.”

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