This is a picture of a boat – Callum’s boat, moored off Scotch Beach and covered in kids. He brought it round the island from New Harbor, his own girls swam in, collected their friends and they all swam out again, with boogie boards to help the younger ones.
Then Callum was moored on the boat as he couldn’t leave it or kids unattended as they jumped and dived. Water there was about 15 feet deep, so when I arrived (by bike as usual) hot and sweaty, I swam out too. Later, Duwayne, then Tip and Wendy, so there were plenty adults around, so I came back to the beach to join the other grown-ups having their well-deserved Sunday relaxation. Later still, “everyone in” was called and everyone returned to the beach, some ready for the walk along to the pavilion for
sustenance lunch ice-cream, some ready to laze in the sand. Some ready for b**r from the cooler [there is a no alcohol rule on the beaches here now after last year’s disasters [see BI Times editorial], and the pride around this year on 4th July, safe and friendly fun day, where the new ordinances make people feel “we have got our island back”].
When the heat was leaving the day, Callum and seven girls swam back out (his rule, seven life-jackets, so I have my three and 4 more whose parents say OK) and the boat took off for the north, to cross the rip tide and back round to New Harbor where the van sat waiting to pile everyone in and re-distribute to their homes.
This morning at NIA class, Barby, 2nd grade teacher who lives out at the Neck, and of course knows everyone, told me how she had watched Callum and his ‘boat loads of girls’ go by yesterday. We exchanged pleasure and pride. Yesterday with other parents I had to keep quiet and hold my feelings (he’s mine you know) when I heard them say “they’ll be fine, they’re with Callum, he knows how to look out for kids” etc etc. Because it is true, he does know how to look out for kids. (As Wendy does too, carting all the towels, and coolers and stuff which couldn’t be ‘swum out’ back up to the road.)
I am thinking now of the differences in how people ‘have fun’, ‘relax’. Last year the island was distressed by binge drinking on the beaches, and the rescue services overstretched , just like back in Scotland, other places, not just youngsters, wherever there is a sort of sick demand that WE WILL HAVE A GOOD TIME. In contrast, a day like today, and other days I know with this family, this community, and also in other places I have known, where fun is not demanded, but people take a responsibility, and the fun arises spontaneously, with awareness shared of others’ needs (e.g. post Jack’s party). The kids also take responsibility, Fiona and Michaela (great strong swimmers) helped little Celeste swim out, going slowly with her on a boogie board, a different Jack lends his board to someone who doesn’t have their own, no-one is in mindless mode.
Some folk think the answer to the world’s problems, or local problems, is to have rules: Keep the mindless off our beaches. (Where did they go this year??). Although it helped us here, I can’t see it as more than a start, a temporary one, like kids getting a time-out. I know rules help to make a space, but they are only really useful when they are making space for inner safety, rather than raising a different problem or sending a problem somewhere else. (I recall the heavy disciplinarian schools I used to visit, really quiet classes, and absolute mayhem in the playground, with a long line of miscreants outside the head’s office at the end of ‘playtime’). No-one can genuinely look out for others if they don’t have enough security inside (though too many boost their egos, and think they do, like the head with the line outside her door). Somewhere it starts better when each of us has enough to be mindful, then now and again, undemanded, we might have a great time. It has been said long ago; it has been said by all faiths and by those with none, the struggle is with oneself, tell that demanding self to quiet down, just the way Callum says it to a more excitable (for the moment) kid.
I like this one google helped me find this morning
“A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most.”
― George Bernard Shaw
Yesterday was a great day, as they say here, have yourself a good one.
[just don’t demand it!]