The two youngest grandchildren, 8 and 10, are with us at the beach (this time, thankfully, with their parents). Both were eager to begin the week with something that has become a ritual–a half-mile walk down the beach to the Inn and across the lobby to the newspaper dispensers, where we buy the local papers before walking back.
The sun was hitting the ocean, the beach was pristine. Other walkers nodded and smiled. The kids ran in and out of the water’s edge. My grandson remarked that his dad had told him that he and his 2 brothers used to sleep in the room he and his sister were now occupying, and that one of them had to sleep on the floor. (Two beds, three boys.) I laughed and said “I guess I had too many children,” to which he responded, seriously. “That must have been hard on you.”
There is something about family traditions that span generations. And since I am nerd to the core, I looked at my grandchildren and the beach and the ocean, and wondered if vacations like this one will be possible when they have grandchildren.
Will the climate change deniers–the dolts and the economically-motivated and the “we’re going to be Raptured anyway” believers–stop policymakers from taking the steps necessary to protect the planet from further environmental degradation? Is my generation so selfish that we won’t agree to some relatively minor inconveniences now in order to preserve mountains and beaches for the generations to come?
Corny as it is, I couldn’t help remembering a poem my own mother used to recite to me. The stanza I remember: “Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime, and departing, leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time.”
Footprints, hell. I just hope we leave some sand.