Saturday, June 26, 2010

Reclaiming our Ocean

Since that ill fated day last April, I have been sick with frustration, worry, sadness, grief....all of the above at the countless tragedies that can be traced back to the continuing leak of oil in the gulf. It has been hard for me to think about, certainly hard for me to write about. I tried to here.....
But my real emotions, they were to raw. And then I physically saw the waters I think of as home.... well,  it really hit home. And it hit hard. As I photographed the images, I shot through tears that streamed down my face. If you know me personally, or have ever dropped by Tales from Bloggeritaville, you know and can see the coastal influences. It in part makes me...well.....ME.
Below is my small and frail attempt to put into words my thoughts. I think the photos that I took this past week capture and can convey the situation more. But I feel in some way tthat  I would be dishonest to myself  to not share in part my thoughts.

I've always prided myself as a pirate of today. You see, I was born into this world with salt water in my veins. The sea calls to me, no matter how far away I am. From as early as I can remember, I can recall vividly family vacations to the beach (we live just a few hours from the shore).

Fishing from the gulf waters, watching hurricane's come ashore, collecting shells as tiny treasures from the sea....a reminder of it's beauty.

Then one day, my dream came true. I moved to the beach. I lived only a few blocks away. The salt was heavy in the air,  sand between my toes, the coastal breezes..... It was home.

I got a job that only deepened my love and passion for the coast, in sea animal rehabilitation at Mote Marine Laboratory. There I literally held formerly beached porpoise above water so they wouldn't drown. I assisted in feeding and administering medications to sustain it's life and finally-release back into the waters in which it came.
We marked sea turtle nest on the shoreline, so that people would be cautious and we put chicken wire over them so that raccoons wouldn't tamper with them. A love of the sea and it's inhabitants-all of them-it deepened.

Today, while my husbands career took me further inland, I live close enough to come down at least every 3-4 months. It's my second home. I spend much time here. I do alot of writing here. Books and music that I am working on. It's my perscription for comfort in my soul. My remedy. It is here that I feel God's presence like no other. It's the perfect place to find inspiration.

I find it in the surrounds: the ocean's song, the mounds of the sea oats protecting the waters, the gulls laughter, the pelican's smile, the busyness of the sand crabs as they shuffle across the shoreline.

But I also find my inspiration in the people of the coast. Sure they live the ideal life, but they are also some of the hardest workers. They work for their living and they are dependant of those city folks who give in to the lure of the ocean and pay to spend their hard earned money long the Gulf of Mexico.

They are those that haul the best seating for the best views in the form of lounge chairs to sunbathers, the fisherman and shrimpers who provide the night's fresh catch, the rentals who share their homes and condo's to those who want to adopt that life for a week, there are so many who contribute the coast that much more appealing.

This entire oil just that. I am angered, I am sad, I am frustrated at the amount of greed and the lack of measures that were taken, even though there were numerous signs prior to the spill that there was a problem. Those signs were ignored, because of greed. Our nations gem (it has the whitest beaches than anywhere in the world) is now literally tarnished.

It's inhabitants are being killed.

There are the concerns of dead zones where no sea life will ever be able to survive. All this, at what cost?

This is my backyard. I want my children and my children's children to see, know, experience and appreciate what I have all my life. I want them to know it's beauty.

I want them to understand how plentiful it is in all it gives, but I also want them to understand how fragile it is. We have to care for it. We have to treat it with love. LOVE.

Now it's time for each of us who have ever put our toes in it's sand to do SOMETHING. There are numerous ways: donate time in clean up, visit the restaurants and stay in the condos. Or donate money to the cause. And pray. We need much prayer. I do not think people quite understand the severity of the situation. It's bad.

It's up to us. Each of us. To give back to the place so many of us long to be.
Our Ocean. Save it.
Please pray with me.

Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call,
Wanted to sail upon your waters
since I was three feet tall.
You've seen it all, you've seen it all.

Watch the men who rode you,
Switch from sails to steam.
And in your belly you hold the treasure
that few have ever seen, most of them dreams,
Most of them dreams.
~Jimmy Buffett, "A Pirate Looks at Forty"

Amended to say: so many of you also had your special stories to share. If you would like to link them up, please do.  Lulu Buffett had adopted the phrase: One Love, One Ocean....and I have to say, it connects us all.


becca said...

you said much of what has been on my heart. i've not had the chance to live near the beach yet, but it is my life long dream. i am a beach baby, have been since birth. the ocean soothes my soul, and is my favorite therapy. my heart is broken and i feel helpless. i've got to find a way to get involved and help. thanks for sharing.

susan said...

Leigh- I too am sick over this. We may not go for the first time in 33 straight years. My children have made some of their fondest memories on these white beaches. And I am sick for the people whose livliehood depends on the tourism and fishing. I am sick for the wildlife we are losing...I'm just sick. I just really don't want to hear about the CEO of BP at another yatching's too much. I will continue to pray that a remedy is found and SOON

Jane said...

Like you, and everyone with whom I speak...I cry over the damage done to our shores. So much of this damage could have been prevented...first with the proper safety measures being in place...then with accepting offers from other nations who have had experience in dealing with these kinds of disasters...and so many more possibilities. But nothing was done...hands were tied...please were ignored. I admire those state governments who took things into their own hands...who will ask forgiveness from the US govt. after the fact. My heart cries for all those whose livelihoods are harmed...for the beaches which will take years to be returned to their natural state, for the sealife whose lives are wiped out or are in jeopardy...
I, too, am a child of the repairs my inspires provides hours of pleasure... May we all learn from this. Please pray....
Jane (artfully graced)

Jerri junque said...

Leigh, I agree and when I think of vacation, the beach always comes to mind. As a child we went to the beach each summer with a neighbor and thier family. Lots of good memories. As an adult it is harder to get my husband to the beach, but we go at least every two years. I want to retire there one day. We plan on going next month to the beach. A little oil aint gonna keep me away. I pray each night for BP to do what is right. To stand up and be men and take care of their mistakes. I will always support the Gulf Coast.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

You know I grew up in that sand to. My heart is breaking with you.
When the beaches are covered with oil... we will look to the sky's. Prayer is our only hope. ~Not just for the sand, but for the people, the lives affected.

deborah said...

I am in shock at the loss, I feel as if we have been invaded and some of our most precious resources have been taken by the enemy. Left behind is the evidence of the enemy's greed. No amount of money can replace what has been lost and will be lost.
I'm still of the mind that all National Guards members need to be called up for this National Emergency. Praying with you.

Kirby3131 said...

You said all of that beautifully with both words and pictures and you also shared the sadness with words and pictures.

I know it's going to really hit me when I go to Gulf Shores in August.

Kristin - The Goat

SueMac said...

Beautiful words, Leigh. I linked this to my latest post... which is about the Gulf, too. Pray, pray, pray... we need God to fix this.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Leigh,

I really appreciate your post. I am so heartsick about this whole thing also. I was down in your area in 2000, and loved it so much. I think that Biloxi was one of my favorite beach spots. I am praying for the spill situation, all of it: for the leak to be stopped and for the gov't to help with ... and support ... those who are doing the actual cleaning up. The politics on that issue are just plain sickening.

To paraphrase Jimmy, Our Mother Ocean holds the treasures that few have ever seen, and we don't want the oil to take them away forever.

Take care!

From your pirate sister, born 200 years too late ...

Kathy in Oregon

Kat said...


We love the gulf coast. Every other year our family from Iowa comes down and we rent the biggest house we can find in Gulf Shores. After the spill, we discussed and everyone agreed that we would still go. It's not just that it's a rare time that we can get all of us under one roof, but we want to support the community that we love. We will be on the beaches - even if we can't be in the water. We will shop and make memories. But we will also take time to grieve for the suffering of our beloved gulf coast.

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

Amen, Leigh, Amen.

The Quintessential Magpie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laurie said...

Thank you for inviting me to participate in your One Love, One Ocean linky today. As you said, the ocean does connect us all. I just returned from the SC coast and am always so inspired by the sea, sand and sky. I am keeping all of you in the Gulf close in thought and prayer. ♥Laurie from Scene of the Grime

Beth said...

A touching post, Leigh. What a sad, sad situation. I am praying!
Hugs, Beth

Anonymous said...

As I mentioned to you earlier...As I read your post last night and viewed the pictures, there were tears in my eyes. I LOVE THE OCEAN!!! I live in the midwest, but everytime that I've had the opportunity to go vacationing, my first place is to the coast. I'm sickened by this devastation. I will give some thought to a post so that I, too, can link. I do have the button "aware, action, hope" on my sidebar...I just don't see enough action.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Leigh, I decided to delete my post and start again. I've decided that I can do more with a blog post on my board than in a rant of my frustrations and sorrow over what has happened to our beloved Gulf. You are aware of how upset and sad I am. So I am going to work on something this week.

I think you know I share your utter frustration with the whole affair, and I am feel ill thinking about the consequences not only to the marine life and beaches but to our state's economy as well as those of our sister states of LA, MS, and AL. After having worked in Economic Development, I know the consequences of something of this magnitude. Hence I have been on the phone with both the White House and Senator Nelson's office, and I don't feel one bit better. So I have decided to pray and seek God's wisdom on a post that will reach out and hopefully encourage other people to call and press them to do something. I think we need to just call and call and call until they come up with a solution that is workable. At least the Dutch ships are out there trying to contain and clean. Thank God for the Dutch! As I recall, they came to our rescue during the American Revolution by giving us loans, and here they are again! God bless the Dutch!



Dawn said...

I've been thinking of you since I first heard of the spill, knowing how much it would affect you. I was hoping it would be stopped before it got so far. It's unbelievable.

English Cottage in Georgia said...

Leigh, you have written a beautiful tribute to the people and culture of the coast. You have been very tempered in your concerns...I cannot speak or write about the spill without sounding like a raging lunatic. I am sooooo concerned and very upset with the lack of concern about this part of the country.
Isn't odd how little press this is getting (esp. visuals) compared to the Valdez Oil Spill?!

9405018--Pat said...

This is a wonderful post. thanks for sharing...Pat H

Anonymous said...

Leigh -

I have always lived walking distance from the NJ shore. This hurts my heart.

- Deborah

Tardevil said...

I am sickened by this too, Leigh, and I feel like it is a total lack of effort to do anything about it, at all. I just cannot understand it. I guess pray is about the best thing we can do at this point. Great blog post!

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Ah...such a mix of beautiful photos (I love the past photos of you, esp the one of you as a "baby pirate" :o) and also sad ones of the oil messed shores.

Blessings & Aloha!

HEWY said...

Great Post Leigh! I loved reading this