Viewpoint: My Beach

An email from a reader:

On Friday, I heard that the oil had started washing onshore, although in little, tiny, round droplets. At first, only the most discerning beachcomer’s eye could pick them out. Yet, their shiny, black, glistening “just poured asphalt” sheen gave them away. No matter the circumference, it was unmistakable. Then, I spied the larger, round oil pies. My stomach sank. I looked down the beach – first right, then left. There were plenty of people. Some playing in the water, oblivious to the oil around them. Curious. Others were looking out forlornly over the endless ribbons of foot high waves. Those folks were anywhere but in the moment. They were thinking back to carefree, happy days when good guys used to win, and anything but a happy ending was unacceptable.

I look around. There are no crews with hazmat uniforms. I look out as far as I can see. There are no skimming vessels. There is no last line of defense but wind and prayer and tide. I see birds and fiddler crabs on the beach. Minnows and cochina shells are in the surf. I think about the approaching oil.

I came so that I could say first hand what I saw. I will take no internet blog or network news anchor’s interpretation. I will not wait for the government or a profit based corporation to tell me if there’s oil on the beach, or if and when it will be cleaned. This is my beach. We’ve been through a lot together. I will be here, if only to clean a small portion at the time. I will wear my protective gear and will dispose of the waste appropriately.

By the authority of my free will and my heritage, I will not accept this. For once we can all agree that a thing is a tragedy and that something should be done. And, if we step up, then when the tide turns and we have shown everyone that we do not need permission to do what is our nature to do – to protect, to love, to labor for that which we hold dear – and to do the right thing. We have this in common, and we need nothing more.