Saturday, September 6, 2008

Guarding Over Us All by Barbara Quinn

The lifeguards were cleaning up the beach yesterday, storing equipment, closing down for the season. Behind them, the waves were large and the riptide strong. This wasn’t a gentle end of summer surf. Soon, they were rescuing five children who were being swept out to sea. What a relief that they were present and able to help. Last summer the worst that could happen did: a child drowned while swimming in the unguarded evening surf.

Today, the ocean was still churning, roaring a clear message to proceed with caution. So even though the official beach season is over, there were guards posted at one beach for swimming, while others patrolled and prohibited swimming elsewhere. I’m grateful to the lifeguards for responding to this unusually strong surf. Being a lifeguard requires so much focus. They understand the riptides, look out for sharks, watch each head in the water, and spring to action on a moment’s notice.

When I caught a wave today, the water was rougher than usual, but not unpleasantly so, partially because the lifeguards were still there watching over us. It’s safe fun losing myself in all that power, tumbling about in the roiling water of nature’s amusement park. The wind was intense and salty, coming directly from the ocean to the shore. The surfers were out having a wonderful time. I could feel the rip current pulling straight out from the shore. My swimsuit was coated with sand because there was so much of it swirling about in the water. Wise parents kept small children close.

On days like this, with the sun beating down, and the water so warm, it’s hard to believe that the summer will ever end. But soon the sun will set earlier, the breeze will be colder. The memories will be bottled and shared in the future. I’m grateful that the families of those rescued children will be able to tell a tale about the time one endless summer when the waves were so high that they had to be rescued by the selfless guards of the beach. My thanks go out to all the guardians of the beach who risk their all. They are the guardians not only of our happy shore memories, but of our futures. Thank you!


Kathryn Magendie said...

Here's to rescuers! And, I'm with you - where did the summer go so quickly? It can't be september already!

Joanne said...

Guardians of our memories, a nice thought. With those memories, we'll have summer forever.

Patresa Hartman-DMACC said...

ooh, i think this is one of my favorites of your posts, barbara. i really like your ocean observations.

particularly the part about losing yourself in all that power. awesome.

Patresa Hartman said...

oh. woops. i was logged in with my school account. here i am.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Here's to all guardians of life and the pursuit.

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