This summer I spent a lot of early mornings walking Town Neck Beach in Sandwich, Mass picking up garbage. What started July 5th as a way to make the weekend better for everyone turned into something else.
Late in August, I wanted to sleep in, but I realized that I had really habituated or even ritualized my beach clean-up. I had become obsessive. I panicked that if I didn’t pick up garbage that day some kid could cut their foot and ruin their family’s much-needed vacation, or people would think Town Neck is a gross beach and not want to return.
My hypothetical thoughts raced. This wasn’t actually my job. I decided I had to take the day off, I was getting a little weird about it all.
Looking back at my summer now, I’m really proud of what I did. I felt purposeful in a time of American life that feels so surreal. I was thanked by many other sunrise beach walkers. I met some really interesting people. And as a photographer, the light was just so gorgeous every single day sun or fog or in-between. I found a lot of shovels and toys, but of course people are naturally leery about picking up things like that now.
These photos may make some people disappointed in humanity, but rest assured all of these items were picked up and saved from polluting the ocean during the next high tide. Now, on to the streets of Burlington, Vermont.
August beach trash somehow seems oddly different to me than a few weeks ago—lacking the playful carefreeness possessed earlier in the summer. The recent items left behind seem more like the oversight of COVID foggy, tired August parents & teenagers just so done with home, social distancing & rules.
For many of you this is what you’re seeing outside your own front door. However, for those of you around the world, I wanted to give you a glimpse of New England autumn. It’s magical—my favorite time of year. I was born October 12th, 1966 and autumn is when I feel most “at home” in my life. Here’s a glimpse. I wish the vintage Cadillac was mine, alas it is not. I hope you enjoy the images.