“If people think that nature is their friend, then they sure don’t need and enemy.” – Kurt Vonnegut
My entire life I would be in serious training mode with three weeks remaining before a marathon, but this year with the Bucks County Marathon staring me in the face I spent the weekend down the shore with friends. I had run on the Jersey beaches since childhood. I would run from my father chasing me on the beach as a child, to clear the fog from my head after a long night of clubbing as a teenager and young adult, and now chase my own children and grandchildren. I had run the Captain Bill’s Beach Run 10-Miler in Sea Isle City more times than I can remember.
This past weekend was an exception. Just walking the North Wildwood beach this past Saturday and Sunday was a challenge with Hurricane Sandy sweeping up the coast. I woke Saturday morning to the sound of hammering and walked out onto my buddy’s porch to find a team of carpenters fastening 4X8 sheets of plywood over the windows of a motel across the street. By afternoon Governor Christie was in town to declare a state of emergency, a mandatory evacuation was put into effect and city officials said they wouldn’t put their emergency personnel at risk to save anyone who chose to stay on the island. We made the only logical decision. We went to the pub. It wasn’t easy to find one that was opened, but we were persistent and found one at the end of the island where the remaining stragglers without the sense to seek higher ground congregated.
My friends and I meandered home around three a.m. and were awaken by sirens at eight o’clock Sunday morning. I stepped out onto the porch, looked down the beach, and figured I’d get some exercise. Standing on the beach with my feet in the water, the waves crashing sideways and sand blasting the side of my face, I watched an angry ocean that appeared to be looking down at me, which was impossible if I was at sea level.
I leaned into the wind and took a walk down the beach before heading back to my friend’s house to settle in and watch the Eagles game. One of my buddy’s children texted him and said he heard that Rio Grande Avenue had been closed, leaving only one road remaining to get off the island. Friends who had left an hour earlier called and said the water was rising around that one road that they had driven on their way out of town. We looked at one another and said, “Maybe we should listen to the Eagles game on the ride home.”
It was the first time in memory I went to the beach and didn’t get a run in, unless, of course, I count running away from Hurricane Sandy. If you are on the East Coast, stay safe and stay dry!