I didn’t, back when I was a WindyCity mainlander. In my defense, I sure did know, for instance, that the WindyCity is not named for its weather-related wind, and that Lower Wacker Drive is not just a road conjured up from time to time for movie scenes. So there’s that.
Digressions are my specialty. But let’s refocus.
In my last post, I mentioned a story that’s unfolded countless times in front of my deck. But it’s only one of many stories that have played out repeatedly. For better or worse, I’ve watched pushes several times from my deck over the years. In a storm, waves, wind, and rain can slowly (or quickly) erode a dune structure, making it weaker and thus less likely to protect the rest of island from the ravages of the storm. Bad storms can even breach the dunes. After such storms, sometimes communities will do a push to restore dune structure.
When that happens, bulldozers enter the beach and travel slowly along the coast. They push sand that the storm moved closer to the waterline back toward the front of the dunes to start building them up again. After that, communities and homeowners will often plant dune grass in the piles of sand in an effort to secure the structure against future storms.
When my boys were younger, I also liked to think of pushes as free babysitting. There they’d sit for an hour, their little faces pressed against the windows or the deck rails, watching the bulldozers work.
With Hurricane Sandy last fall, the hurricane that left widespread devastation for our friends to the north, our dunes experienced some erosion. In some areas, we lost a few feet of sand, and in some cases where dunes structures were already weak, dunes were completely breached. Thus our town opted to do a push again this winter to restore some of the sand to the dunes.
You can always tell when a push has recently been done because of the unnatural way the sand looks piled on the front of the dune and because there’s no dune grass growing where the fresh sand has been deposited
Also, as you can see in the pictures, the bottoms of any deck stairs leading to the beach are often covered with sand. Sometimes, people drape ropes down from their railings so that they can pull themselves back up over the sand to the steps. Over time, the look becomes less obvious, dune grass is planted and/or spreads, and paths are forged from the stairs to the beach.
I suppose I should correct myself. Paths are forged from the stairs to the beach over time for most people. However, I have small people, so as you’ll see in Part Three, the Island Family doesn’t exactly allow time to do what we can accomplish ourselves in twenty unbridled minutes.