Sunday, May 16, 2010
Why the Gulf Matters To Me......
I have been trying to Blog and Tweet about the Gulf and the Oil Disaster, I have been trying to post Information, Science, Facts, videos and updates. I have tried to approach it clinically like a very sick patient, keeping my emotions to a minimum. Yet as it is now Day 32, my emotions are getting in the way. My Memories are getting in the way. My Longings and those memories are now haunting me and distracting me from my mission of blogging with clarity.
As a nerdish liberal child I grew up in a VERY Republican family. Yet the year I turned 11 we started spending much time in Florida on the Gulf of Mexico. Partly because my grandmother was moving there due to health problems. It was partly because my parents bought a condo at a bargain price and all vacations and summers were then spent there. By the summer I was 12 I was grossly absorbed with the Watergate Break In and then the following summer it was the Watergate Hearings. I was absorbed with spending hours walking the white sands and watching tide pools and touching shells and hermit crabs and other Sea Wonders. I was spellbound by the wonders of the Gulf, the beautiful azure waters against the White Sands with the number of Birds swooping overhead and Sunsets that transformed my soul.
Going to the Gulf was my Escape , but it was also very much where I found myself as I moved from childhood to Adulthood. It was where I was allowed to have compassion and hope. I sat on the Beach watching the Birds and wrote. I participated in Turtle Counts and Bird Counts. Where silent observations was a valuable gift. The Island where were , Sanibel was devoted to the Preservation of so many animals,buildings limited in a height and a Preserve ( Ding Darling) that was beautiful. Every year the Turtles come to lay their eggs and then the eggs hatch and the Turtles would return to the Sea. As a young teen I hollowed out a hole on the beach with another Teen and with special Goggles and Binoculars we observed this Beautiful Event. And we sat and wrote our notes in the Dark of the Night. And in the Morning we touched the gentle trails left in the sand with awe.
When I was 12 my mother went out and told us to stay home and read. But the Gulf was beautiful and I had just passed my LifeSaving classes. So I did what an obstinate lonely teen would do, I went swimming . And on the 3rd Sand bar I stood up and admired the beautiful gleaming sea. When I stood up I felt the water move not far from me and realized there were "Finned Fish" moving my me. Three of them. My first thought was "Oh no, My mother will be right and I will be eaten by Sharks because she was right." I didn't have my glasses on, I am legally blind without glasses, so I really had to breath deep and calm down and try to assess the situation. I stood very still barely breathing and then I realized as one got very close that it was a Dolphin and that up close they really do look like they are smiling....And I did the Unthinkable, I reached out very slowly and very gently and tenderly touched the closest one. It was so smooth, gentle and cool to my hand. It did not back off or go away but circled around again. They circled about and dove with each other clearly playing and clearly enjoying showing off. It was the most mystical magical moment I have ever had. It took my breath away.
To this day, the memory is so clear even though I had impaired vision I can close my eyes and still see them and their dipping and diving and beautiful graceful swimming. It moved me and inspired me in way that I can not explain. Through the years up until I was married I would return to the Island when I need respite or a break from School or Nursing Life or Wretched Boyfriends. It was where I sought solace. The Island and the Gulf was magical....It was healing..Grounding. It would be where I would lifeguard, write, read too much and learn to sail. It would be where I would learn so much.
There would later be other trips to other parts of the Gulf and the Coast, And in many ways it is true that I am Home when I am by the Sea- Always. But the Gulf and Sanibel was where I wanted to take my son one day, so I could show him the Wonders. And these past few years as I lost so many skills and physical strength I have always wanted to go back, as it is the one place that remains Home, accepting and full of Light. I am mad at myself now that I did not get my son there now. I am worried about the Fishermen and all of the Creatures.....the birds ...the Turtles and the Dolphins and so many more....I have learned over these past few years that Time is a Gift. But I did not realize how fragile Something so beautiful could be...and now it may be out of Time.