Tuesday, June 15, 2010

To ocean waters we have poisoned, I'm so sorry

I sit on a sun-warmed rock and compose this column in my head as I watch the waves crash onto the rugged shore. I’m at the sea—my chance for this Midwestern girl to drink up her fill of the mighty crashing sea before returning to her (certainly wonderful but) landlocked existence.

The only sounds are the waves crashing on the rocks/lapping on the shore (depending on my location) and the occasional seagull call. I pick my way across the beach and pick up another piece of sea glass. This craggy Maine coast is one of my favorite places to be.

The sea is a place for me to retreat from the daily demands of the world for a bit, to re-evaluate priorities, to re-read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift of the Sea, and to just be still.

Instead of feeling calm and centered this time, I breathed in the sea air and felt immense sadness over the death and destruction caused by the oil spill. That something like this could—and did—happen feels incomprehensible. 500-800,000 gallons of oil may be leaking into the Gulf each day. Each day.

I feel angry and powerless. And guilty, too. Guilty because as much as I try to be eco-conscious, the irony that the whole reason I can travel hundreds of miles from Noblesville to visit my beloved ocean at all is because of oil is not lost on me.

This fault lies squarely on humankind and our need—greed—for oil. And unlike natural disasters where it’s easy to mobilize and help in some way, this is paralyzing. What can we do but watch helplessly as the slick poisons our waters, our land, our animals, and ourselves?

It’s time to head home. I look out at a million stars glinting in the waters. I say I’m sorry and say goodbye.

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