Bringing Our Community Together

Category archive

Contributors

Meeting Miss Lovey is an experience not soon forgotten

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scoot

What better activity on a cool Sunday afternoon than to join friends for an afternoon of football?

Recently, our friends, Chris and John, invited us over not just for football, but drinks and companionship too. It was one of those gorgeous fall days, upper 60s, blue sky and cool breeze. While we were sitting there watching the game, a commercial came on and Chris said, “Oh, there’s Miss Lovey. Come out to the screened porch and see her.”

Now this couple’s house sits next to a beautiful pond along a golf course green.  Outside their screened porch there is a stone patio which is surrounded with flowers and shrubbery; nature’s own fence.

As I started out the patio door, Chris said, “Oh no. Just stay here. You don’t want to wake her up.”

She pointed to a spot between the pond and the flowers.

“Who?” I asked.

“Lovey,” she said, grinning.

There, spread out on the bank, was a 10-foot alligator sunning. I stepped back on the porch quickly, but Lovey did not move.

“How long has she been there sunning?” I asked.

“About six hours.” said Chris. “We adopted her when we first bought the house. We have an agreement. We leave her alone and she leaves us alone.”

I surmised that Lovey must have known it was a Sunday afternoon and decided she needed a day of rest too.

Like many communities, ours has been full of people using chainsaws and blowers to clear away debris. But on a Sunday afternoon, when people deserved a break, it seemed like a perfect time for Lovey to relax.

As we observed her, I thought of the many hours I have spent relaxing on a beach or pool sunning myself. How many times have I opened my eyes and just said, “Not yet. I just need a few more minutes?”

I connected with Lovey at that moment.

She continued to rest as the football game played on that day. I think the open windows, along with the sound of the football announcer’s voices reciting each play, lulled her to sleep as has happened to my spouse on numerous occasions. Even the golfers playing through did not faze her.

So, a word of caution: If you get invited to Chris and John’s, be sure to meet Lovey, but please do not get off the porch.

Beaufort County’s hurricane gamble pays off

in Bill Rauch/Contributors/Voices by

By Bill Rauch

When the dust has settled on this year’s hurricane season, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conventions, conferences and seminars begin early next year, the presenters will be talking about Beaufort County and its County Council chairman, Paul Sommerville.

Why?

Because Sommerville sniffed out a FEMA loophole, swiftly and expertly exploited it, and within days of Hurricane Matthew’s departure won for Beaufort County’s taxpayers an estimated $15 million prize. Moreover, here and only here in South Carolina today the debris Hurricane Matthew left behind in private communities is being picked up at government (local, state or federal) expense.

Meanwhile none of the other coastal disaster-declared South Carolina counties — Colleton, Charleston, Georgetown and Horry, nor Gov. Nikki Haley — are today even in the game. The debris is piled high along Horry and Georgetown’s private roads, and no one is picking it up. And in Charleston and Colleton counties today in the private communities, it’s every man for himself.

Here’s how it happened.

Half of Beaufort County’s roads are private, gated, and/or controlled by property owners’ associations. That means the cost of removing post-Matthew debris brought to the roadsides of half the roads in the county would not under FEMA’s regulations be reimbursed by FEMA.

There are only three exceptions to the FEMA policy: if there is a health emergency, if the county typically picks up debris from these places or if the county’s finances are such that it would go broke if it had to pay for the debris removal itself.

Beaufort County does not typically pick up yard waste along its privately-owned roads, and with a $30 million emergency reserve fund and additional borrowing capacity, the county would not face bankruptcy if it were forced to pay a $15 million unexpected bill.

But what about the health emergency angle?

After Hurricane Matthew moved on up the coast on Oct. 22, knowing the three exclusions, Sommerville reached out to State Sen. Tom Davis to ask Davis to ask Haley to declare a health emergency for all the affected counties. It was a reasonable request although had the governor granted it, it would have been unprecedented.

The governor’s office explained to me last week that it is their view that health emergencies are things like terrorist bio-medical attacks, rogue viruses and major chemical spills or releases. Not hurricanes. And that is what the governor told Davis in the days after the storm.

As the early signs back from Columbia appeared negative, Sommerville doubled down and called on former-Gov. Mark Sanford to intercede with Haley. Sanford now represents Beaufort County and much of the Carolina coast in the U.S. Congress.

But the governor continued to demur.

Leaving half of Beaufort County to fend for themselves was not an option for Sommerville. The county was going to pick up the debris on all the county’s roadsides, but would the county have to pay?

Or was there another way to get FEMA to pay for the removal of the estimated half-million cubic yards of debris that Hurricane Matthew left behind in Beaufort County’s private communities?

On Oct. 23, with a regularly scheduled county council meeting scheduled for the next afternoon, Sommerville wrestled with that question with Deputy County Administrator Josh Gruber and county attorney Tom Keaveny. Together the three settled on Beaufort County’s Code of Ordinances Sections 22-28, the local law that enables county council to issue proclamations and regulations concerning health, safety and disaster relief during civil emergencies. Proclaiming a health emergency would at least permit the county to change its own policy and start picking up on the private roads, and it might meet FEMA’s test to enable the federal reimbursement.

Sommerville started calling his council members to bring them in on the plan. That’s when he found most of them were still evacuated and wouldn’t be able to get to the Monday meeting. Some proposed canceling it, but Sommerville knew he had to get the health emergency declared before the county’s contractors could start picking up the private roads. So, speaking one-by-one with his members, he determined he could probably get a quorum together on Oct. 26, so he postponed the meeting.

At the postponed meeting, still with two of his 11 members absent, a lively discussion of the emergency health measure ensued both in the executive session period and later in open session. Some members who represented poorer districts were uncomfortable putting up to $20 million at risk. In fact no one much liked it.

But the alternative — telling the residents who live in POAs, and/or behind gates, and/or on private roads, telling half the county that they were going to have to go it alone — was worse. No one had a better idea, so Sommerville’s plan was finally passed by a vote of 8-1.

The following morning the county’s debris removal contractors started rolling into the county’s dozens of private communities, including hard-hit Fripp and Harbor islands that are represented by Sommerville.

That was a big step, but the big dollar question remained: Would the county be reimbursed by FEMA at the standard public roads level of 75 percent for the cost of the debris removal on the county’s private roads? Would the local Health Emergency Proclamation gambit work?

It didn’t take long to find out. On Nov. 1, FEMA sent word the agency would reimburse Beaufort County for its private roads debris pick-up costs. Current estimates are those costs will be about $20 million. Of this FEMA has agreed to reimburse at the standard 75-percent level.

A FEMA spokesman told me last week that Beaufort County’s Health Emergency Proclamation had been “an important factor” in the federal agency’s unusual and swift decision.

If the current value of the county’s mil is $1.75 million, Sommerville’s out-of-the-box health emergency proclamation saved Beaufort County’s taxpayers the equivalent of 8.6 mils on their property taxes next year.

Meanwhile, neither Colleton nor Charleston counties have even applied to FEMA to be reimbursed for private road debris pick-up costs. Colleton officials didn’t respond to repeated calls, but Edisto Beach residents have told me the residents on private roads there have been told they are on their own. That is also the case in Charleston County, a spokesperson for Charleston County confirmed last week.

In Georgetown and Horry counties, the debris continues to pile up along private road roadsides, spokespersons for those counties confirmed last week, because the county councils there don’t want to risk having to bear locally the costs of those cleanups. In Georgetown County, debris disposal site fees are being waived for private communities, a spokesman said. But both counties were still waiting at press time for word back from FEMA whether the federal agency will reimburse them. Neither Georgetown nor Horry have passed local health emergency measures.

Beaufort County announced last week that countywide debris pick-up will be handled in three “passes.” The county now has over 100 contractors working its debris removal job. Their enormous black trucks and trailers are a commonplace sight on Beaufort County’s roads — both the public and private ones — these days.

By week’s end, Beaufort County officials predict, their team will be approaching the conclusion of its “first pass,” and by then about half of the of countywide post-Matthew debris will have been picked up.

And Sommerville, a die-hard college football fan, can enjoy Saturday’s Clemson-Pitt game with his daughter, a junior at Clemson University, knowing Beaufort County’s army of debris removal contractors are hard at work at home picking up the rest … and on the feds’ tab.

Library is special place for all ages

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scott

The last few weeks have been so busy that I have not had a chance to relax and read a book. It was only when a friend recommended one that I decided it was time to visit the library.

I walked into the St. Helena Branch Library on Halloween Day and realized that the employees were dressed in costumes and had placed children’s Halloween books out on display. It looked great and inviting for young people.

I headed to the front desk and asked the branch manager, Maria Benac, about the book and she directed me to the “Book Club” section. This is a designated area where local book clubs order books from their reading lists. However, the books can be checked out by anybody.

As I was crouching down reviewing titles, a little girl, around 18 months, came up next to me and started to talk to me. I could tell she was asking me what I was looking for on the shelf.

Although I could not understand many of her words, her intonation was unmistakable. As we chatted away her father hovered nearby with the “Is she bothering you?” look which I immediately dismissed. “She’s fine.” I said.

I proceeded to tell her about the book I was looking for and asked her whether I should just find another book that looked interesting.

As we reviewed the books together, she would pull out a book, hand it to me to determine if it was the one. If I shook my head, “No, that’s not it,” she would place it back.

She finally pulled out a new book and handed it to me. “Ahh,” I said “I have not read this one yet.” She smiled and babbled away. Her job with me was done. She wandered off to advise other patrons with dad right behind her.

I remember being taken to the library by my mother when I was very young. It has been a lifelong habit. It is so important for children to feel as comfortable surrounded by books as this little one.

When I finally found the recommended book, I realized that I still had the other book given to me by my little friend. The title of the book: “Best Friends Forever,” by Kimberla Lawson Roby. It seemed an appropriate book to recommend to a new friend.

Can fish oil help dry eye?

in Contributors/Dr. Mark Siegel, MD FAAO/Health by

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel

While artificial tears or ointments are a common treatment for dry eye, studies suggest consuming omega-3 fatty acid supplements may also provide relief.

Omega-3 oils appear to improve function in the eye’s meibomian glands, which produce the oily part of tears. Improved function of those glands can ease dry eye symptoms.

Dry eye becomes more common as a person ages. The problem develops when the eye cannot maintain a healthy coating of tears. Dry eye can be caused by hormonal changes brought on by menopause. There are a number of other causes, including a dry environment or workplace (such as wind or air conditioning), sun exposure, smoking or secondhand smoke exposure and many medications.

The National Eye Institute notes that in some patients with dry eye, supplements or dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids (such as tuna fish) may decrease symptoms of irritation.

Many studies have shown that the omega-3s in fish oil are believed to reduce inflammation. If inflammation of the eyelids or surfaces of the eye worsens dry eye, it makes sense that a supplement could help the problem.

Since dry eye is pretty complex, and there is no cure, it seems reasonable that by treating the inflammation, one can improve some of the symptoms.

A study of more than 32,000 women from the Women’s Health Study published in 2005 found those who consumed the most omega-3 fats from fish had a 17 percent lower risk of dry eye, compared with women who ate little or no seafood. More recently, a study in the International Journal of Ophthalmology concluded omega-3 fatty acids have a definite role for dry eye syndrome.

Omega-3 oils may also help in the treatment of other eye diseases. The oils may reduce growth of abnormal blood vessels that occur in age-related macular degeneration and other retinal vascularization diseases.

Talk to your doctor to find out whether omega-3 supplements are right for you.

Passwords cause dilemma on unplanned vacation

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

The recent unplanned vacation (evacuation) left us in a hotel without, of all things, our Internet passwords.

We had checked and double-checked our evacuation plan list before we left the house and even added a few things to take, but the “password book” never hit our radar.

It was not until we got to our hotel and attempted to connect to Internet sites that we realized we had forgotten it.

Here is what led us to creating the “password book”:  Initially, we only had a couple of Internet passwords. There were the AOL and MSN passwords. Then came the passwords for our computers and iPads.

Before we knew it, every company, like our bank, the electric company, the telephone company and any stores that we used required a login name and a unique password.

Then security and hacking became an issue so we were asked to add numbers or symbols to our words and we even started to get rated on the strength of the password: weak, strong, stronger.

Then we were asked to change our passwords on a regular basis. I know a lot of people who would use a word like Angel and then add a number. No, we were told. You have used that word before and besides, it does not have enough letters!

Or worse yet, the notice on the site reads “I’m sorry you have not logged into this site in six months and therefore you have to change your password”.

These requirements led us to purchase a business card folder. It is one of those three-ring binders that has plastic inserts for business cards. We filled it with cards and wrote the associated passwords. The constant changing of passwords every 30 days or 60 days, depending on the site, meant that the old passwords would get scratched out with a new one replacing it.

Since I have gone through all the family names, the dogs, the cats and street names, I had to succumb to words like “Kitchencounter84$” which received a STRONG rating, but was difficult to remember.  It is for these reasons that the password book exists.

So now I have added another item to my checklist: the password book. And you do not have to worry about someone trying to steal our book. It is not going anywhere soon. We are still looking for the combination to the family safe.

The missing sculpture (or where did King Triton go?)

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scott

Please be advised that I am currently missing a sculpture from my backyard. If by chance, you have found it, please DO NOT RETURN IT!  Keep it as a memento of Hurricane Matthew. My gift to you.

The sculpture in question was already in my backyard when I bought my house. I am almost positive that it had washed up from some barrier island and was only on the property because of some other hurricane.

I cannot believe that the sellers would have ever bought this item because it is so unusual. It is also possible that over the course of its lifetime it had been damaged and hence the reason for its current appearance.

It was not until I started to pull out dead palm fronds and vines that I spotted it. Truthfully, it startled me when I saw it. The sculpture was deeply embedded in dirt on the bank of the creek and was hidden in the brush.

It appears to have been made of brass or a similar material and is mostly discolored, sporting several shades of green.

Examining it, I was not sure what it was supposed to be. Was it a mythological deity like King Poseidon? It was hard to tell. Maybe it was supposed to be King Triton with his sharp trident.

The sculpture appears to have arms that spin, although it could be they are just broken. Maybe they were supposed to be that way and it was actually some kind of weather vain.

Regardless of its looks, it proved too entrenched for me to move by myself. My spouse offered to drag it out with a rope tied to the back of the truck, but I said not to bother.  We really could not see it that well anyway unless we were on top of it.

But alas, Hurricane Matthew came swinging in with a surge just high enough on the embankment to loosen the dirt and sweep it off our property.

Maybe King Triton is now the new figurehead of one of the local sailboats. Who knows? He may just be waiting for his father Poseidon to churn up the seas and scoop him up to decorate someone else’s yard.

Or maybe he has already found a new home and is sitting in your reeds.

Vote the ‘Think For Yourself’ ticket

in Bill Rauch/Contributors/Voices by

By Bill Rauch

Reasonable people are of two minds about Nov. 8, this year’s election day. They are relieved the public name-calling might finally at least temporarily come to and end. But they find regrettable the choices before them.

Nonetheless, current surveys and the history books indicate, approximately the same lackluster percentage of registered voters will vote this season as have voted in the past. Tending to confirm the surveys’ findings, and the history, is my own experience at lunchtime on Friday, Oct. 23. That was when I voted. I was number 143 in the day’s cue. And all the chairs the Board of Elections people had set up for early voters waiting their turn that day were full.

Here’s how I voted in the tight races, and why.

For the Beaufort City Council — on which I served in various capacities for 16 years — I voted for Nan Sutton and David Taub. George O’Kelley is departing and with him will go the group’s best brain. Of those running, Taub offers the best replacement brain. For example, he has come up with a proposal to replace the ridiculous 2-percent franchise fee surcharge that City Council voted unanimously to levy city-wide to pay for burying the power lines on Boundary Street.

Some city council members serve for years and never come up with a proposal that can honestly be called their own. They just do what they’re told by the city manager except on those rare occasions when the public cries loudly enough to convince them their political self-protection requires them to oppose him.

In exchange for their fidelity to him the city manager tries to protect “his” council members from looking foolish in public. Taub won’t play that game. I can prove it. For the eight years he was mayor the city didn’t raise taxes — and city managers always want to raise taxes. I was there, and I know then-Beaufort City Manager Gary Cannon did.

In the South Carolina House District 124 race I voted for Shannon Erickson. Shannon’s a hard worker who is dedicated to constituent service.  And as a policymaker Shannon can be counted on to look out for South Carolina’s young people. That’s both good for our future … and unusual.

In the race next door: Broderick vs. Rivers for South Carolina House seat 121, I say Michael Rivers is needed where he is on the Beaufort County School Board where he keeps a close eye on Superintendent Jeff Moss. Mr. Moss is a highly-skilled politician in the sense that he is facile at keeping a majority of his board with him. Town managers, county administrators and school board superintendents all do this, if they wish to keep their jobs. But some are more brazen — which is to say they more obviously play favorites — than others. Superintendent Moss is one of the brazen ones.

Caught in September 2015 quietly changing the school district’s nepotism policy and putting his wife on the district’s payroll, Moss remarkably slipped the noose. (I’m sure it has cost us plenty.) Now he has concocted a scheme to separate the county’s residents and its visitors from about a quarter billion dollars to make capital improvements to the county’s schools.

The list of projects to be funded was developed with an eye to making the superintendent’s favorite school board members look good rather than the to-be-preferred steely resolve to serve the cause of educating the county’s children. Moreover, the flexibility that’s baked into the school board referenda (there are two) gives the superintendent and his board a majority that pretty nearly amounts to a blank check to chuck the list and use the quarter billion as they please. The clear message from the redoubtable superintendent to board members is: If you don’t stick with me, I’ll build a new coalition without you. And then you can watch your favorite projects slide into the ditch.

If you couldn’t tell, I voted No on both the school board measures.

But I said Yes to Beaufort County’s penny sales tax measure. Former Beaufort City Councilman Mike Sutton, Nan’s husband, who chaired the committee that wrote the list of projects, figured out how to rope me in. The results on Nov. 8 will tell us how many others were similarly lassoed.  Sutton managed to keep on the list a couple of million dollars for Beaufort’s beleaguered Southside Park. First Mayor Keyserling tried to sell the park. Then he proposed tilling it up and planting it in corn. Now, maybe, if the county’s long shot measure passes, the city can at last begin to try to make Mossy Oaks’ 18-plus acre neighborhood park into the premier city park it should be.

I have my fingers crossed.

Matthew puts J&L Landscaping Company to work

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scott

When we moved here to our pine forest home, we had not planned on hiring the J&L Landscaping Company.

However, after a couple of windy days when the pine needles showered down on our lawn, we started to consider it.

Then we lived through a few strong thunderstorms and that sealed the deal.  We found an exclusive company willing to take care of one property: ours.  This company is extremely reliable. Normally, they show up early on Monday mornings and proceed to blow the pine needles into piles, mow the lawn, trim the bushes and weed the garden. They even clear all the leaves off the porch and walkways.

The company has been known to take several truckloads of old dead tree limbs to the convenience center after a particularly bad storm. There have been those times when they have not shown up on a rainy Monday morning, but ultimately they return on the next nice day.  And occasionally, if a heavy storm has come through mid-week, they show up.  They always seem to get the job done and work for little money.

After finding J&L Landscaping, we discovered that we needed the LSS home cleaning service, the JDS boat maintenance company, the JL laundry service and of course the Scott construction company, which has completed numerous jobs including room painting and varnishing floors around the house.

If you have not guessed yet, all of these phantom companies are run by one or two people: me and my spouse.

We do hire other contractors.

We have had electricians, plumbers and HVAC companies do work around our home. But when we know we can do the job, we just do it.  Of course, it is also one of the problems living with someone who just cannot relax.

There must be something in our DNA that makes us both somewhat hyper-active. Or it could be just the way we were brought up to rely on ourselves to get things done.

We joke about feeling guilty sitting on the couch.

“Shouldn’t we be doing something?” we ask ourselves.

Even a fortune cookie that said “Take the day off” was ignored as we got out our rakes.

Ultimately, we will shut down all the companies and start hiring others. But in the meantime, thanks to Matthew, J&L Landscaping is up and running and working full time.

My coal mine canary returns

in Bill Rauch/Contributors/Voices by
rauch

Photo above: At 4 a.m. the storm wobbled to the northwest and for 45 scary minutes Matthew’s eye headed straight for us.

By Bill Rauch

When the rain really started to come down at 3 p.m. Friday (Oct. 7) I watched my family — my wife, two boys, mother-in-law, three dogs — drive out the driveway.

After looking at the National Hurricane Center’s tracks, and hearing the governor, the president and the Weather Channel, I had decided to do what I have always done: ride it out.

It felt a little lonely watching them drive off.  But parting always does.

Frankly, there was less good reason to stay this time to visit firsthand with Matthew. In 1989, with Hugo bearing down on Beaufort, I had a newspaper, The Lowcountry Ledger, to look after. And as we all know, news and her deadlines come first.

In 1999, when Beaufort evacuated for Hurricane Floyd, I had a town — a great and delicate town — to look after. Only in extremis do mayors leave their towns.

Both times I never considered going.

But why stay now? It’s crazy. My grown children now living in New York, my sister, and several friends told me so … in no uncertain terms.

But not Beaufort people. They mostly said, “Sure, stay. That’s what I’m doing.”

What is it about New Yorkers who are so tough that they are so careful too? Everyone with whom I communicated Friday night who lives on Manhattan Island begged me to leave immediately for high ground. Maybe it’s that New Yorkers are a pretty smart bunch.

The evening started calmly enough. In fact, I called the family to say goodnight and turned in early. But then at 2:30 a.m. an odd thing happened … like a canary in a coal mine. The gas detector — the thing that hangs on the wall and sounds like a smoke detector — went off: “Beep” … “Beep” … “Beep.” First I thought I was dreaming it.  Then it woke me up.

May I say without my readers thinking me crazy that things like this used to happen when I lived in The Castle on Craven Street. It was always at night. A door would slam. A window would creak. I’d wake up, “What was that?” Then I’d hear my daughter in her crib who had the chicken pox crying … or a son sleepwalking. It was weird.

I don’t know why the gas alarm went off.  I had shut the gas to the whole house off. But I fumbled around with resetting it, and while I was up I thought I’d take a look outside.

I took the flashlight and went against the wind out to the porch and looked around. There was water everywhere! The house, up on 2-foot brick piers, was surrounded by water! I shined the light under the porch. There was water everywhere.

Amazingly, the lights were still on, so I fired up the laptop and looked up the tides: high tide would be at 2:49 a.m. So the water was definitely still rising.

When I was mayor I took a group of 115 intrepid volunteers down to Long Beach, Miss., to help that devastated town chainsaw out from under Katrina. Then after I was mayor I worked a couple of years for FEMA, helping mayors negotiate the byzantine FEMA post-disaster reimbursement process. So, as New Yorkers would say, “I know from floods.”

Now I was in for one. Between about 3 and 4 a.m., while the house still had lights, I moved things up onto beds onto tables onto shelves, wherever I could find a spot. It’s interesting what you choose. Here’s the priorities list: (1) favorite guns (2) anything to do with the children (3) family stuff, photo albums, etc. (4) everybody’s tennis rackets, sports equipment, shoes and boots (5) anything else of value.

Then, at 4 a.m. I found WSAV’s live stream — WSAV did an award-winning job and public service covering the storm — and their weather people said, “Matthew is still tracking due north and will make landfall between Tybee Island and Hilton Head Island.”

Whoa, I thought, that’s us!

Then the lights went out.

There’s lonely, and then there’s LONELY!

With my flashlight I checked the water level under the house. It was unchanged. The tide might be supposed to be going out, but it was clearly no match for the wind.

Back inside, in my mind I ran over my alternatives. That didn’t take long. There was only one: whether to put on my son’s old t-ball batting helmet that I had just dug out of the back of a closet. I thought, nah, and — having done what I could do —  settled into my favorite reading chair to listen to the majesty of the wind, and for the gurgle of the sea rising up through the floor boards.

It was so dark that there was absolutely no difference between having your eyes open or shut.

When I woke up, the water was running out of the yard.

Matthew had moved on.

Some people are sand philosophers

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scott

If you have ever gone to Hunting Island State Park and walked the beach during low tide, you might have seen some of our local philosophers at work.

These are the people who walk along the shore with their sticks and are inspired to write just when the ocean tide is at its lowest.

Whether it’s the breeze off the ocean or the endless horizon that inspires them, it’s not long before they are writing in the sand. But unlike Aristotle and Plato, whose works have been around for thousands of years, the sand philosopher’s words are only here for a limited amount of time.

On a recent morning I noticed that someone had written “Always.” I stopped and just looked at it. Always what? Always in love? Always hear the ocean? Always, as in God? Or maybe someone just expected the reader to be inspired by the meaning of the word and come to one’s own conclusion.

A good friend told me that she knows people who go to the beach over New Year’s and write the old year over the new year and take pictures as the old year gets washed away. How symbolic; especially for those people who have had a bad year. The water appears to wash away the past.

You might see footprints near some writing, too. Couples will stand together and squish their feet deep into the sand as they face one another. Written next to the footprints is something like “soulmates.” It takes much longer for the incoming tide to erase the deep footprints.

Parents are also known to do this with their children with the date written next to the footprints, as if forever imprinting the moment in time.

But some of the sand writing is actually not philosophical, but more like Comedy Central.

You might see “Life is a beach” or a long arrow pointed to the water with the words “Beach this way.” I also saw “Wilson was here” as a reference to the movie “Cast Away,” where the Wilson volleyball floated away. And of course, there are the endless games of tic-tac-toe.

So if you are having a particularly unpleasant week and need to be inspired, go down to the beach and check out the sand philosophers’ work.

And don’t forget to bring your own writing stick.

1 2 3 90
Go to Top