This past Saturday, June 26, I joined hands with so many other sad but determined coast lovers. My beloved sand is Clearwater Beach, although I was represented by my family on Wildwood Crest on the Jersey Shore.
When I arrived at my designated meeting place in front of Frenchy's Rockaway and The Palm Pavilion, I was greeted by two young women with a petition heading up to Washington D.C. After signing it, I proceeded to the check-in tent for instructions. We were told to assemble our line in the sand just at the water's edge ten minutes before noon when lines were simultaneously forming all over the world because a Sierra Club helicopter would be flying overhead to take our picture. We would be joining — not simply holding — hands for 15 minutes.
Speaking of hands, I was also asked to trace my hand on a piece of paper which would also head to D.C. to be made into a banner that would wrap around the White House. Our leader then called to us from her megaphone that it was time to line up and off we all ran. Scrambling to get organized, spreading our line, and finally settling into our mission. We even experienced a heckler who was not for Big Oil, but was so angry at BP that he felt our "hand holding" was a waste of energy against such a violation by a corporate giant.
We joined hands holding them high every few minutes with a cheer, wondering if we were long enough to join the southern group at Pier 60. As I watched children abandon their sand castles, asking their parents if they could join the line, I contemplated if possibly that one good thing from this disaster could be the development of toddler activists. The woman next to my companion was in tears. She could not bear, the thought of the oil still gushing and the untold deaths of birds and marine life. There were cardboard signs of protest, voices, song, and many more tears. Then with a one minute countdown shouted to the heavens, we released hands and went on our way.
I dedicated the entire weekend to enjoying the beach where I live, play, meditate and heal. With a dear friend, I walked to Caladesi Island where I kayaked around Moonshine Island and spent hours swimming and floating in the Gulf. We watched the sunset on the spectacular gulf and the moon rise on the intercoastal. All the while, knowing that the future of this blessing is so uncertain.
">Video of CWB Hands