Friday, June 11, 2010

Beautiful Evening, Ocean Mourning

Right now as I look out the window, the harbor is still. With little breeze, scarcely a ripple disrupts the water. Where the water is its shallowest, the surface reflects like a polished mirror. The rest is a sweet, soft blue.

In the quiet, I can stand on the sea wall and look down to the floor of sand, coral and undulating sea grass. Small silver fish zip by, as well as the occasional young spotted ray. Once in a great while, I'll catch sight of a nurse shark, grazing the bottom, not an ounce of menace in its demeanor. On evenings like this, when I look farther out toward the middle of the channel, I'll often see a flash of silver and a brown fin stick up from the water as a tarpon rolls.

When the weather turns and the wind churns, the water roils in a dark gray-green. I've watched a storm blow through with such fierceness that it obliterates the scene before my eyes. In the north, "white outs" are associated with blizzards. Here in the Keys, it's like someone pulled a curtain of rain across a stage, blocking the set from view. Fronts often move fast and, before long, the boats, buoys, and island across the way emerge once more.

I like to take my tea and a book out onto the porch and relax outside with the dogs. It is always peaceful and most days a breeze keeps it from being too hot. Sea gulls, pelicans, cormorants are neighborhood regulars. A heron or osprey might make an appearance. It isn't uncommon for dolphins to swim by on their way out to the ocean. Sometimes, I'll hear a loud "chuff" and know to scan the water for signs of a passing manatee.

This is my home. Tonight, while I breathe in the cooling air and watch the sky color up with pink and lavender, I embrace the beauty with my heart. And I worry.

Way up in the northern Gulf coast, thousands of other people sit on their porches, balconies and in their backyards, look out at the water that borders their land and are horrified. Sludge mars the beauty and murders the eco-system. They are beyond worrying about what might happen and forced to confront the reality. Day after day after day.

At this point, the Keys might be fortunate. The Loop Current could pull it away from the islands and take it up the coast. We might never see the sludge and tar balls fouling our home.

But we will not be unaffected. The harbor outside my window flows out to the Atlantic, only a few hundred yards away from the Gulf of Mexico. It's all connected.

Tonight there are people hundreds of miles away who are mourning because of the oil spill.

Here on our islands, surrounded by still beautiful water, we feel that pain.

1 comment:

Hope said...

Beautiful, Mary, just beautiful. And heartbreaking at the same time.