Beach deprivation is hard on the soul

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

Photo above: Hunting Island State Park is currently closed due to damages from Hurricane Matthew. Officials hope to reopen the park by the end of May. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

By Lee Scott

My friend Bonnie was over the other day and mentioned she was suffering from “Beach Deprivation.”  

“Can’t you sleep?” I asked.  

She shook her head and said, “Beach deprivation, not sleep deprivation.”  

Of course! 

We are all suffering from lack of beach. It has been six months now since we all scooted out of town and left poor Hunting Island State Park to take the beating. 

How many of us are suffering the same affliction as Bonnie?  We were so used to just jumping in the car and running down there for a walk. Or getting up early and having the beach to ourselves? How many of us took it for granted that our beach was always going to be there?

But it is deeper than just missing the beach. My father used to say that one must stand on a beach at least once a year and breathe in the ocean air. 

There is something so fulfilling about looking out at the ocean. Originally from Rhode Island – the Ocean State – I have such an affinity for beaches. Maybe this is the reason why during the past six months, I have had the need to visit other beaches. 

In a way, I am cheating on Hunting Island, but the roads are closed and the signs are up, and so I had no other choice.

There was the trip up to Kiawah Island to “watch a marathon,” but truthfully, I just wanted to walk the beach. Then there was the trip to the Florida Panhandle with a quick overnight stop at Miramar Beach. Oh, even the Gulf of Mexico breeze felt good that day as I walked barefoot through the sand.  

Those were fun walks, but I miss Hunting Island. 

I miss watching the sunrise when I was out turtling. I miss seeing the old trees that look like sculptures spread out in the sand.

Yes, Hunting Island State Park. I am as beach deprived as Bonnie Wright, past President of the Friends of Hunting Island. 

But we volunteers will be there once again, when the gates open to help support in any way we can and try not to take you for granted ever again. We have shovels, chainsaws and whatever other tools are needed to clean up the park. We just want to get in there again! 

In the meantime, like Bonnie, we all remain beach deprived.