TIME OUT – NO BEACH ACCESS

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Someone a world away posts a photo of wild mountain goats eating the hedges in a suburban neighborhood. The words under the photo are ‘humans are the virus’. Another stream of images from India is accompanied by joyous exclamations that people can see the Himalayas from their homes in Punjab from the first time in thirty years. Satellite composites clearly show a reduction in air pollution over every major city on the planet as a result of harsh lockdown rules. The dolphins in the canals in Venice were a pipe dream, but one enjoyed by many whose hearts are invested in the regeneration of Mother Nature. A friend in Bangkok reports that her asthmatic husband is finally able to breathe easily there, and that the water in the Chao Phraya river actually ‘looks like water’. She admits that it is still black, but it is more watery and flowy, and less sludge-y than usual. 

Several weeks ago, when my dear soul brother sent me a photo of various beach access points barricaded in North Miami, I felt instantly angry and rebellious. “How dare they deny the public access to mother nature!”,  I cried inside. And then I paused as I remembered how I used to avoid the beaches on the weekends and holidays because they were so crowded with humans who seemed to not have much respect for the land on which they were frolicking.  Birthday parties for young and old were announced by blaring music which threatened to drown out the songs of the waves on the shore and the wind in the leaves. Garbage bins overflowed with food scraps, plastic dinnerware, take out containers, dog pooh bags, and all manner of discarded personal items. When the bins were full, people would deposit their refuse on the earth. The modus operandi was ‘someone else will clean it up’. Inevitably, plastic took flight on the wind and made it’s way into nearby gardens, or in the opposite direction into the arms of Mamma Ocean. I remember brave weekend walks when I picked my way through the miles of browning bodies. There was a smell hanging in the air which actually transported me back to my childhood. The almost odious odor of sun block and sun tan lotion, the nanotechnology cream of marine ecosystem death, masquerading as protection for tourists who would not entertain the idea of only going out in the sun early in the morning or late in the afternoon; and who, were happy to avoid the pastey white marks which pointed to the fact that they were wearing sunscreen. As the unconscious or blissfully ignorant beach goers cooled off in the warm Atlantic waters, the ocean sacrificed itself, and washed the toxic cream off of their skins. Reacting with sunlight, the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, released hydrogen peroxide, which was a certain poison for phytoplankton. These tiny beings, though imperceptible to the human eye, form part of the ecosystem of tidal pools and coral reefs, and are an essential food source for numerous marine life, from small fish to whales. We had been saving our skin while erasing a link in our own web of life. But now, no more. 

Preferable to the busy weekend beach circus, were early morning walks, with my children and dogs, on which we sometimes found ourselves running along empty expanses of sand, with wind in our hair, sun on our faces, love in our hearts and not a care written in our minds. The tides’ deposits of algae and sea weed were like a Michelin star buffet for the flocks of birds which descended, running to and fro between the waves crashing on the shore and the banks of flora. The reverie was often interrupted by the arrival of the ‘beach cleaning’ crew. A large tractor would traverse the sand scraping up the weed so that the beach would be more accessible and enjoyable for the humans. This was beach life for the people, by the people and of the people. But what about the  countless other organisms, large and small, seen and unseen, who called the beach home, planet and Universe? Who was speaking out for them? I dreamed of initiating a major education campaign comprising of screening movies like ‘Plastic Ocean’, on big screens in the beach parks; hosting famous personalities who championed the environment and the preservation of the marine ecosystem; and just plain door-to-door, beachtowel-to-beachtowel conscious conversations to get people to think about the choices they were making and decide if they wanted to make a change. Nothing ever came of this idea. I will always remember the day that Arthur Mitchell cast his eyes around the studio full of aspiring ballerinas and ominously proclaimed, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions…”. Are we standing now at the gates of hell? I looked at the crime-scene-like orange tape blocking the pathways to the ocean, and the locked beach park access gates in my friend’s photos. No these were not the gates of hell. On the contrary, I could just decipher the sound of angels singing on the ocean breeze. These were the gates of heaven.

Sometimes my children look at me and say, “Mum, maybe you need a nap.”, or on a challenging day, “Mum, perhaps you should take a holiday.”. It is not always possible, as a parent, to hop on the next flight bound for relaxation and rejuvenation, but it is essential for sanity, and often for self-preservation, that we make space for our selves, to think, breathe, sit quietly, and indulge in self-care. As Boulder began it’s lockdown last month, a friend described it as, ‘Mother Nature sending us all to our rooms to have a think about the way we have been behaving.’. Time Out Humans! Mamma has had enough! If you know what is good for you, you will give her some space, and only come back when you are ready to make some better choices regarding your role on the planet. We are certainly not facing Biblical plague, pestilence and famine, but wouldn’t you rather turn the ship around before the ground trembles with the pounding of the galloping hooves of the four awe-inspiring horses of the last days? Some say there is a Dark Plan unfolding, which is attempting to harvest the fear of mankind in order to draw us away from our Ascension timeline and back to the Armageddon script. Don’t you think that those horsemen need a holiday too? In this dimension of polarity, the lightest light must be matched by the darkest darkness, or things will fall out of balance. It is up to each of us to choose which side of the Yin Yang circle we want to sit on, and then, from our chosen perch, look across at the other side and embrace it, love it, forgive it, and thank it for playing it’s role in the game.

My husband and I went to Thailand for a belated honeymoon in the days when no one thought much about traveling half way around the world for a holiday. Greta was probably just learning how to speak while we explored Bangkok and island hopped to satisfy my desire to lounge on the beach and Jean’s desire to rock climb on Thailand’s famous cliffs. One evening, while strolling down the beach to meditate on yet another sublime sunset, we observed a couple lift their beach towels off the sand and begin their stroll back to their house, and were horrified when we realized they had smoked an inordinate amount of cigarettes and used the butts to make a little fence all the way around their beach towels. They walked away as if the little mounds were nothing more than innocent sand castles. Once again, mamma ocean opened her arms wide and embraced the human garbage. It was on that holiday that my husband started collecting garbage off of beaches. In most humans, a little bit of darkness inspires a little bit of light. Today, in the face of so much darkness, we have an opportunity of a life-time to step into our light in a way we have never done in our history as a species. 

And so, Mother Nature is in the recovery room. The angels are singing sweetly to her. The proverbial gates of Heaven are closed. If and when we are released from our ‘time out’, how will we choose to walk in the world? How will we care for our Mother, respect the music of the cosmos, and convince the gate keeper that he should loosen the chains and let the iron doors swing open, so that we can frolic on the beach once again?