It wasn’t so much the odor, the membership fee or the primal screams as bodybuilders gave birth to muscle mass, it was the lack of fresh air, natural light and the random beauty of nature that propelled me to exercise outdoors. This craving was met with an early morning beach stroll for both exercise and tranquility before the workday stress washed over me. On that first walk, I was shocked and saddened by the amount of filth on the berm, a blight of a convenience oriented narcissistic society seemingly oblivious of the effects of pollution. My mind angrily demanded that someone should do something about it. I immediately realized that someone should be me. If I was not a part of the solution, then I was the problem.
The next day, and every day thereafter, I packed a plastic bag and filled it with rubbish during the morning circuit. I emptied the bag at the dune walkover waste bins and then continued collecting garbage until I returned home or a mortal puncture wound rendered the bag useless. On the weekends, the shoreline was even more cluttered with a depressing amount of towels, toys, clothing, cigarette butts and mounds of convenience food trappings (straws, caps, bottles, cans, plastic wrappers galore). The vast amount of junk provided a great workout by grabbing the debris while trying to maintain any sort of pace.
After month or so of daily jaunts, a beautiful thing happened. I completed an entire three mile round-trip with only half a bag of litter. The same thing happened the next day and then again on the day after that. The weekday tide of trash had been beaten back and only the weekends produced multiple bags of detritus.
To amp up the workout on the light days, I started doing lunges, side lunges, squats, pilé squats and duck walks to collect discarded items along the tide line and then returned in the knee-deep surf. This not only increased the intensity of my workout but it also increased my bliss. Nothing in the gym compared to trudging back in the cool water knowing the coast was clean and my thighs were spent. The return also afforded the opportunity to gaze more at the surroundings and less at the ground. The reward was watching manatee play, dolphins frolic, and newly hatched sea turtles make their maiden voyage into the deep. Not even cross-fit could offer so much diversity.
When I relocated to Cocoa Beach, my heart sank. My bliss was trampled on the first Saturday morning that I passed in front of Coconuts & Beach Shack. It was as if someone had declared the site a landfill and the happy partiers had quickly obliged. Despite the dozens of waste cans conveniently located on the sand, some revelers opted to leave their empty containers and broken toys where they lay. It was on one of those heavily laden days that I discovered BlueTube. I needed to empty my bag at 4th South where I noticed this blue cornucopia mounted on the dune walkover. It solved my broken bag problem. It also invites everyone to give thanks to nature by helping to restore it to a pristine state. While trash pickup can seem like a daunting task, just remember, like exercise, every little bit helps!