Just a few miles offshore lies the forward edge of a spill from a hemmorraging oil well. Nearly 125 miles wide, the oil, as yet still flowing from the well and pipeline 5000 feet below the surface, is spreading, slowly, thanks to favorable winds. Tomorrow, Not So Good Friday, brings less heartening news. A high pressure is developing in the Gulf and winds should turn and begin to push the oil directly toward the coast. In the path of the oil are some of the largest and most important estuaries in the United States. Forget the possible contamination of the powder white gulf beaches, forget the devastating effect to the tourism and subsequent trade in the coastal region, forget how such will ultimately greatly inconvenience us all or further increase economic hardship in our region. Hear me say with greatest gravity: our estuaries are at risk. They are the nurseries, the hope and future of our oceans. Estuaries are easy to damage and difficult to cleanse. Though in health, estuaries also cleanse the outflow of our rivers before their plunge into the great seas.
Just a few miles off of our shore…death awaits only a “good wind.”
I am a water lover, born under the water sign, in the “dawn of the age of aquarius,” indeed. All my most vulnerable, most altering moments have come in the context of water: in it, on it, next to its pounding. I can barely separate God from His most powerful representation, water.
My father served our nation and my state forty years as one of water’s great defenders…deep in my blood is that calling to do so. I have been watching, praying for and loving our oceans since I first toddled toward my t.v. to lay my hands upon Jacques Cousteau’s colorful Calypso.
I have the common southerner’s love of our soft and warm, motherly coastline. I crave her nearness and comfort at times of great stress. I run to her in pain and distress and change. I love the Grand Ocean as well, especially the poorly named Pacific, who tosses and propels and bellows like the best of Fathers.
Just a few miles offshore the evidence of our greed, our selfishness and nearly total disregard for a more excellent way lies awaiting a wind that may well send it back upon us.