no oil…

June 27, 2010 at 7:56 am Leave a comment

The way it works around these parts is that all driving is done on highways and county roads so completely flanked by towering trees and vines that it’s impossible for me to get any bearing. No towering mountains indicating East or West only a green electronic “E” near the rearview  mirror letting you know where you’re going. If you look at the map there are many occasions in which the road closely follows the coastline… but you wouldn’t know it.

So it wasn’t until after packing everything humanly possible, driving a couple of hours, (complete with more window seat negotiations and toddler-boredom management), unpacking everything, lathering three squirmy girls in SPF 345, and a short trek, that we actually felt ocean breeze and saw….

this:

No matter how many times I go to the beach it feels like a miracle. And this time was no exception, except that it had the added miraculousness of white sand, blue-green waves, and no oil.

We rejoiced, frolicking like mermaids, scooping up clear healthy water in delight. I was filled with gratitude and happiness, and struck with grief that anything this beautiful and frankly, incredible, could ever be sullied by black tar. But body surfing and bobbing about felt a bit like doing the lindy-hop in front of someone who recently lost their legs, because while we bobbed about, just a few miles away there were families yearning to swim and play, looking hopefully out of their beach front windows only to see black globs, rust colored tides, and dead fish.

I come from a beach town. Surfing, “laying out”, skinny dipping in frigid waters, ogling sea lions on the wharf, and wading through tide pools were all a regular part of my childhood and adolescence, but visiting this part of the country I am still impressed by the role the sea plays in the lives of the people who live here. The gulf is everything. The culture and the economy is based on the riches and beauty of these waters. So while we merely feared having to alter our beach vacation to accommodate a natural disaster, the people who live here are having to alter their very lives.

The blue skies, white sands, and clear water, create a landscape gorgeous beyond belief under ordinary circumstances, but with the awareness of conditions just a few miles away, the beauty becomes heartbreaking.

And lest we forget…

… to remind us, amid the bikinis and sun hats, there are men with blue plastic gloves and orange buckets on the lookout for globs.

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Entry filed under: life lessons. Tags: , .

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