Rites of Spring

Hope doesn’t always spring eternal, so the promise of spring is essential. But it is at this very time of year where the ocean pulls some fast ones. I always remind myself that Ray and Juanita’s house fell in on March 31, Juanita’s birthday. Just when you think you have snuck out of winter unscathed, ready for flowers and birdsong, comes the old Washaway smackdown.

Here’s what I will call the Yellow Compound at what, until recently, was not the end of Spruce Street, on March 3.

yellow compound

graffitiHere’s the Yellow Compound on April 4.

toppled yellow 1I would say that at least 50 feet has fallen into the ocean in the last few weeks.

overturned yellow 2overturned yellow 3

overturned yellow 5Which means it’s time for “salvage”/ looting. It was tagged with a message (in tar, a nice touch, I thought) to other looters: “Don’t do it” , i.e., this is mine.

don't do itAnd, indeed, its contents were choice specimens. Who wouldn’t want this green banana lamp?

green lampOr a place to rest your weary head

yellow house contentsor the most excellent vintage fridge hiding in the lower right corner?

yellow house contents 2It’s every salvager for himself. And you know a tree hugger like me loves recycling. My quarrel is that, after salvaging the scrap aluminum, there is, as in any industry, waste product, that which cannot be turned into cash. Therefore, you have the strategically arranged, heart-stomping garbage piles. Maybe I should emphasize that the beach’s name is misleading. It doesn’t all “Wash Away.” It goes into THE OCEAN. Where, like, fish live. Not only the wise and beautiful enormous creatures, but the ones that you and I eat. Please make a note of it.

insulation pile

green tankblacktopThings have been eroding pretty seriously, all of a sudden, just south of me. “We haven’t lost anything!” my neighbors whisper, guiltily. But while a relief, I feel the secondhand dread that accompanies a friend with cancer: this is not my doom, but when will the shoe drop?

You’ll recall this big brown barn/storage shed on March 6.

brown shed 3-6Well, it now looks like this:

tire, concrete, roofAnd then there is the adorable A-frame, once owned by a cute old couple, then looted, then bequeathed to one of my least favorite “salvagers”, now festooned with piles of crap insulation in the back , and about to fall in the ocean. Easy come, easy go, no?

A-frame March 6

A-frame March 6

A-frame April 5

A-frame April 5

I’m thinking about the dashed hope of spring, because it was a year ago today I donated my bone marrow to my Mom. All I was thinking about, at the time, was me, me, me, I’m sorry to say. Fear: fear of hospitals, of doctors “harvesting” a “spongy red liquid containing stem cells” with hollow needles from my spine. Would it hurt? It never occurred to me that my inconvenience would not save the day.

sideways tree

I will say that the dread was worse than the actual experience, probably a good life lesson, and John Hopkins’s drugs were excellent. I wish I had been braver, or more selfless, with what, now, I’m pretty proud of.

overturned roots

Too bad she died anyway. “I don’t think it was you,” my Dad told me today.

replaced signage

With or without my endorsement, let the rites of spring begin. You’ll see that there are a lot of pictures of dogs here. Coincidence. I don’t hire the talent, I just shoot ’em.

Kite, boat, Jeep

Kite, boat, Jeep

Marcy in rainwatchers 02 watchers 08

watchers 15 watchers 09watchers 06watchers 05

They were excited to reuse the tumbled concrete. "We have a muddy yard and a fire pit," she explained.

They were excited to reuse the tumbled concrete. “We have a muddy yard and a fire pit,” she explained.

Crabapple

Crab apple

Woodworker Jeffro Uitto was salvaging Crabapple branches for Brady's Oysters' smoker. Yum!

Woodworker Jeffro Uitto was salvaging Crab apple branches for Brady’s Oysters’ smoker. Yum!

watchers 11watchers 04watchers 14The thing is to remember the promise, not the promise dashed. Right? As we’ve discovered, dread does little to change the outcome.

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About washybeach

Washaway Beach This Week is a blog by photojournalist Erika Langley. See more work at www.erikalangley.com.
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3 Responses to Rites of Spring

  1. Gowers, Todd says:

    You are such a moving writer and photographer. Your words and pictures stir up so many emotions. Thank you for your artistry. XXXooooo

    From: Washawaybeach This Week <comment-reply@wordpress.com> Reply-To: Washawaybeach This Week <comment+ey8flea7x60bfdiemmw_j6d@comment.wordpress.com> Date: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 10:08 PM To: Todd Gowers <toddgowers@wwdb.org> Subject: [New post] Rites of Spring

    washybeach posted: “Hope doesn’t always spring eternal, so the promise of spring is essential. But it is at this very time of year where the ocean pulls some fast ones. I always remind myself that Ray and Juanita’s house fell in on March 31, Juanita’s birthday. Just when you”

  2. Glenn Turner says:

    These get better every time. Connecting your personal story to the story of the beach is brilliant.
    You are a good writer!

  3. Linda Hjelm says:

    Thanks for the update. The Yellow Compound belonged to my folks for about 40 years and then to my daughter. Your pictures and text have filled in the gap for me since I was unable to be there. I agree with Glenn. You’re a great writer and a pretty good photographer, too! 😀

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