Wednesday, June 2, 2010
The Oil Devastation - A Personal Story
Somewhere in one of my mom’s photo albums, there is an old picture, which is my favorite picture of myself. I’m not dressed up in lace and silk, or recital clothes, or school clothes. I’m wearing a pink polka dot bikini, and I’m sporting a nice tan and bright blond beach hair. My hands are on my hips and a wide smile is stretched across my lips. I was three, and my love for the beach was already a big part of my life.
Through the years I’ve spent many lazy Saturdays, Spring Breaks and summer vacations at the beach. When I graduated from college, I moved to Mobile, Alabama, which is about an hours drive from the beach. I was in heaven. I was home. If you have never lived near the water, you may not understand, but the living is different. It’s slow, lazy and peaceful.
When I started writing, I noticed all of my stories included some element of water and sand in them. My heroines were drawn to the water, and the lapping sound of waves calmed several of my heroines in their most trying times.
I never dreamed there would come a time in my stories that my heroines might be walking near the water and notice tar balls washing ashore. Nor did I ever contemplate a story where my heroine found a bird, or turtle, or fish so covered with oil that it made said heroine’s stomach turn with sadness.
Today on Dauphin Island, mere miles from where I once lived, the first appearance of red brown oil washed up on the shore. This follows three weeks of tar balls being found in the water and on the sand.
Today 31 percent of federal waters are closed to fishing because of the oil spill. This includes all of the waters off the Alabama coast
Today swimmers are being advised to avoid swimming in the waters off the western side of Mobile Bay.
Today the people in these communities, who rely on the water for a living, are hurting, suffering and wondering how they will earn a living to feed their families.
Yesterday saw another 12,000 – 19,000 barrels of oil leak into the Gulf of Mexico from the runaway oil spill.
That was yesterday. What else will today bring? Will the heroines of my future stories no longer be calmed by a beautiful ocean but sickened by the devastation this oil spill has poured down on us?
BP CEO, Tony Hayward, said yesterday that no one wants the spill to go away more than he does. He said, “I just want my life back.” Well, Mr. Hayward, we just want our ocean and beaches back.
Here’s hoping that BP’s latest attempt, cut and cap, to contain the oil works.
Here’s hoping for white beaches and clear water.
Here’s hoping that my children will enjoy the same simple pleasure on the beach that I always have.
Here’s hoping my heroines will not have to look out onto the beach and see dead animals covered in oil.
Here’s hoping that oil drilling off the Gulf of Mexico is regulated better or even stopped. After all, what are we without our dreams and hopes?
Julie Johnstone, The Marchioness of Mayhem