This morning, Dear Husband and I went to the beach, which is our normal practice on Saturday. We usually have the place more or less to ourselves early on Saturday, but today, the beach was so packed we had a hard time finding a parking spot. Hurricane Bill kicked up some of the biggest waves I've ever seen on our beaches (first hand, anyway). It looked like the West Coast beaches with the big, rolling waves breaking far off shore, and amazing surfers riding the waves for impossible amounts of time.
We arrived just before high tide; there was essentially no beach. The ocean reached almost to the dunes. At one point, a very big wave came all the way up to the edge of the dunes where we were standing. It swept away a garbage can and a recycling can. The recycling can had a lid. A guy standing next to DH grabbed it and took it back up into the dunes. Before anybody could grab it, the trash can rolled over and spilled its contents. We sort of stood there, not knowing what to do. I was barefoot but had pants on; DH was wearing shoes and socks with shorts. Neither of us wanted to get wet.
The Surfer Dudes were not so inhibited. One guy grabbed the garbage can and several other guys and one young girl waded into the water, picking up cans, bottles and bags of trash. The guy with the trash can waded in holding it out as though he were taking up collection at church. The kids made quick work of the cleanup, and then the Dude dragged the can up into the dunes and set it next to the recycling can.
DH and I stood there beaming. These kids made it clear by their actions (taken without thought or hesitation) they care about the beach where they practice their passion for surfing.
I walked away still not comprehending the attraction for the sport, but with a very different feeling for the tattooed and oddly dressed throngs who practice or follow it.