It is May 7, 2011 — a Saturday. We drive forty-five minutes south to Dauphin Island. This will be the last time we will visit the Gulf of Mexico before moving away.
It had been more than a year since the BP oil spill. Last summer we didn’t go to the beach at all. My husband Adam got a part-time job doing EMS standby for those working to clean up the shores. He said time and again that it wasn’t that bad where we lived in Alabama, but we were still grateful for the extra income.
In late October, we finally took our daughter Lily to the beach at Dauphin Island. It was off-season and barely a soul could be seen. Still, there were no tar balls and we had little concern. We played in the sand and swam. Adam tried to catch crabs with his bare hands. Mullet jumped nearby. Everything seemed all right.
I made a bucket list of things to do before we moved. On it was one last visit to our southern beach. We arrived early, long before the heat set in, and found a quiet place to build a sand castle and walk Lily along the water’s edge. We knew we wouldn’t see these waters for a long time; we probably won’t live so close to the water again. But the Gulf will always be there and the beaches are just as beautiful as they’ve ever been.
Note: these photos were taken with a Holga 120 camera.