Tuesday, June 1, 2010

No More a Drop

     My sanctuary, the Gulf Coast, is under siege. Scientists, environmentalists, experts of all types are studying the waters, the oil, and the coast line trying to find an answer. A constant set of monitoring is in place to determine the impact upon the Gulf. As the day closes and evening rides in upon clouds of thunderstorms, my mind ponders the image of a drop of the Gulf’s water on a slide and the Gulf itself. I can see microscopes all over the world looking at drops of the Gulf’s water. But is that the Gulf? Is a drop of water from the ocean the ocean?
     From a molecular view the drop taken from the ocean is no different than the ocean. The ocean is but a composite of billions and gazillions of water drops. Each drop’s composition is alike and completely undifferentiated. That is, until you take a sample and call that sample ‘the ocean.’ 
     Under the microscope, the individual drop may show oil, bacteria, perhaps even death. Unseen are the thousands of life forms, fish and creatures that are moving, dancing, giving birth and dying with no sense of tomorrow or yesterday. Theirs is but the moment, the current of life. The flattened glass slide cannot bend to the undulating bed of the Gulf or ocean with its caverns, its unique water flower beds and palms, sand, ship wrecks, coral, mountains and our own pollution. The light of the telescope overshadows the darkness of the ocean or Gulf’s depth, ever so dark, yet so dependent upon the light for its life. The microscope’s magnification cannot show the pressure of the Gulf or ocean at its deepest depths where life forms are rare and human curiosity premeditated.
     Though not molecularly the same, not even water, one cannot ignore a quintessential life form nursed by the Gulf – humans. Young couples, on their honeymoons, entwined as close as they can get, walking the shore line at sunset. Older couples, perhaps watching a different kind of sunset, are content to just hold hands. The squeals of children as the waves knock them down or splash their faces. And of course, those like me, who just sit and listen.
     My sanctuary, the Gulf Coast is under siege. To solve the problem we are looking at drops and thinking we have the whole. I confess a smile now as I write. In some way, are we not all under siege? Outside forces, whatever you wish to call them, are pouring themselves over us, upon us, before us and even pushing us. On a difficult work day like today, as I mourn my Gulf, as always, its healing powers, even in its weakened state, reach me. My smile grows bigger. Look not at yourself as a drop Beth. Settle not for the molecular structure, the sample as viewed under the microscope. The waves, stained with oil still tease me, and the tide calls to me “do not settle”. There’s so much more than the drop. And I choose to splash. Thunder. The drop has left the laboratory.