Each summer from the golden sands of the Oregon Coast to the vibrancy of South Beach, from the retreats of Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard to Malibu and Santa Monica’s iconic pier, from the Gulf to the quiet beaches of the Great Lakes, we participate in thriving numbers in the summer ritual of heading to the beach. Hundreds of millions of Americans head/pack up for the beach each year. For many in places such as the relaxing Outer Banks or bustling Ocean City the exodus from city to seaside is a daylong, week-long or even summer long experience.
What is it that brings us to the beach in droves as soon as Memorial Day dawns and keeps us enthralled through Labor Day? Perhaps it’s the quiet early morning walk or jog with the rising sun as a backdrop and man’s best friend at your side. Maybe it’s the relaxing and soothing sound of the ocean that makes any problems or stress seem an ocean/world away. For others it could be the strolling the boardwalk seeking out the perfect bargain or funnel cake. Maybe it’s the excitement of catching the perfect wave on a surfboard or boogie board or paddle boarding along with the tide. Seemingly plenty of us simply enjoy getting lost in our favorite book while trying to get that perfect tan.
I must confess as I write this that I too am participating in this right of summer, listening to the gentle rumble of the waves, feeling the gentle breeze the warm sun overhead and the din of hundreds of fellow beach bums swimming, chatting, “sandcastling”, “volleyballing”, and sun tanning.
Our love of summer and the beach means that the end of the season can leave us reluctant to leave. Indeed in some places, ushering out the beach-going season can be a semi-mournful experience. At one of Delaware’s popular beach communities, Bethany Beach, the annual Jazz Funeral (watch videos of the event here), serves as a way for beach lovers to playfully bid adieu to the summer season in New Orleans style.
Perhaps it’s only appropriate then that Michael Jackson’s “Never can say Goodbye” can be heard playing in the background as I conclude this blog. For when it comes to bidding the beach farewell, for the beach lovers the sentiment is best penned by Denzel Washington’s character in the movie John Q, “it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later”