In early September 2010, on a family trip to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Hurricane Earl blew in. I dubbed Earl “The Equalizer” because the spirit on the beach and in the town before and after the hurricane was one of camaraderie.
Before the storm hit, shops taped and boarded windows but stayed open for business. Hon, the undertow was so strong that if you stood in the ocean-carved channels on the beach, you’d be knocked right off your feet. So, what did everyone do? Stand in the channels, of course. Then laugh like crazy and help each other up as the water swirled and pulled. As wind picked up the night before the storm hit, news crew showed up, but vacationers still strolled the boardwalk eating home-made ice cream and Thrasher’s french fries (dipped in vinegar, of course).
At nine am on the morning of the storm, you would have thought there was a party on the beach. Hundreds of people came out to watch the ocean. The sand stung your face and the wind whipped your hair, but everyone was friendly and talkative. Lifeguards, off-duty for the day, surfed. Luckily, Earl blew on by, the worst traveling out to sea. The day after the storm, the only evidence that “Earl The Equalizer” had touched down was the still churning channels of water, the strong undertow and the atmosphere of awe.
At summer’s end this year, Mother Nature was quiet on Long Beach Island. Stormy or quiet, the ocean has so much to say.