Walking along the beach this morning, I saw no dolphins. Seeing a baby dolphin skirting the shore of our Mississippi Gulf Coast the other morning may have been a blessing greater than I had imagined and one far rarer than I could have expected.
We direct our gaze to the horizon tonight along the Gulf Coast. We know the oil is out there. We feel the warm air rush across our faces and we hesitate to breathe deeply, lest we catch a hint of that which is fouling our waters.
Fouling our livelihoods.
Finally, slowly regaining our footing after Hurricane Katrina, we return our gaze toward the Gulf of Mexico’s horizon. As wives standing watch on our roof’s Widow’s Walks. Waiting patiently for the arrival of our inevitable futures.
We want to be resilient. We want to be beacons of hope. We want to be Lighthouses. We know how to withstand the coming storm. We know how to pull ourselves back up.
But, damn it.
The atmosphere is familiar. We are holding our breath. The tone of the news changes each day. It began with a “Whew, looks like we dodged that bullet.” It has slowly turned, like so many hurricanes sling-shotting around Florida and unexpectedly barreling toward our shores, and now gives off a distinct vibe of “Hm. Exactly how much trouble are we in here, folks?”
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A handful of documentary film crews wandering along the beaches of Gulfport and Biloxi this morning held the same weight as the Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore showing up in your town on the edge of a storm. It ain’t good, folks.
The containment booms are falling apart in the choppy waters. Waves are carrying oil over the barriers, around them.
There’s no turning back now. Gather up your brown pelicans, the Least Terns, blue crabs and shrimp, the cranes and egrets, the dolphins and their young.
We direct our gaze to the horizon. We stand watch on our Widow’s Walks and we hope. We wring our hands and we will visions of safety and security to deliver us whole.
We feel the tugging at our hearts. Something inside knows better. Yet we will our beacons to remain alight.
The oil from the Deepwater Horizon/ BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to hit the shores of the Mississippi Gulf Coast by Sunday. Our community enjoys and thrives upon miles of beaches; countless businesses and families depend on their resources.
Having lived in both New Orleans, Louisiana, and all along the Alabama coast and Mobile Bay, I say with all that I am-- Hope for the best.
*images by Walter Anderson, Ocean Springs, MS artist