The Write Gardener is observant (smart, too!). He noted in a comment on my last post that I never said "what it were" that had broken my heart. Is it ever just one thing? By the time you reach middle age, life gets so complicated that it couldn't possibly be just one thing. One thing can't make you happy. "Contrariwise" (as someone wise once said--think Through the Looking-Glass), one thing doesn't break your heart. Take this bivalve, for example--or what's left of it. It's a cockle shell, maybe a Van Hyning's cockle (Dinocardium robustum vanhyningi), less than half or just one part of the whole animal. It's missing the best part, the thing that kept it alive and held it together. Daughter and I found it Wednesday evening on the beach down by Fort Pickens. She had the day off from work, and we wanted to see the white sandy beach one more time and maybe have a margarita together in honor of Cinco de Mayo. The boardwalk on Quietwater Beach was practically deserted, and the bartender at Bamboo Willie's was more interested in watching the barmaids and the gals standing outside Hooters' next door than serving a middle-aged woman, even if she was accompanied by a pretty, young one. We left after about ten minutes and bought our own margarita fixins' at the Publix on the way home. The drinks were cheaper and better anyway. Before we left the boardwalk, I overheard someone say that the tourists are staying away in droves. Maybe the wildlife that's left here and there among the high-rise condos, restaurants, and bars will get a rest from all the traffic and noise. That's my foot, by the way, toenails not polished yet. I'm still trying to find that perfect Verbena purple...
Daughter is just as fond as I am of walking, but she steps to the beat of a different drummer when it comes to unsolicited advice, even if it's just about wearing shoes on the beach. She insisted on walking barefoot, at least until we saw that Man O'War. She has always been a strong-willed child, and she won't change just to suit me, thank goodness. In fact, she won't change to suit anyone--person, that is. I guess that's why things didn't work out so well for her and Mr. T. Maybe she does take after me, now that I think about it. I'm not happy about the recent Gulf oil slick, but I'm not angry at BP for causing it. Why should I be? I live in Florida, a complex and sensitive collection of ecosystems. I leave a footprint here, a footprint there, a footprint everywhere I go, especially while driving a car. Anyone who lives on the coast or near a body of water should know that living the good life with all of its amenities has a huge impact on a fragile environment. You would think that people have forgotten, though, with all of the hateful words being aimed at BP and Big Oil in general. They're being held accountable for every bird, fish, or turtle that dies now or in the future. I guess that all of the frenzied coastal and waterfront construction and subsequent devastation to wildlife due to loss of habitat and poisoning it over the course of several decades don't count in the same way. If people were honest about it, they would see that it's like Tweedledum or Tweedledee--essentially the same though different. We lovers of waterways want to have our cake--or seafood--and eat it too. And if it makes us sick, well, let's find someone else to blame. Someone else needs to belly up to the bar and pay for it. Only it isn't that simple. If BP gets punched in the eye, guess who else gets black-and-blue? We all do. Oil prices go up, and investors get even more uneasy. An already fragile economy teeters closer to the edge of a precipice. So, let's say we don't have any more oil exploration. I don't think we have a viable alternative to the messy stuff yet.
Now, about that eating... Think about what happens to what you've eaten after a few days. Sure, it goes through a water treatment facility, where it gets treated with chemicals and mixed with who-knows-what else that goes down thousands of other drains. Or, maybe you have a septic system on your property like we do, in good working order, of course! Where does all of that you-know-what in various stages of "clean" eventually end up? The Gulf or some other ocean. Yes, I know I'm being crude here, but we're all in this life together. It takes more than one thing or company or industry to make a mess. We live in a composite world, and it ain't always "the berries." Can't we all get along, make the best of a bad situation, leave off thinking terrible thoughts about each other or--even worse--threatening each other with lawsuits, curses, and bombs? So, I have been broken-hearted lately. Is it the curse of being empathic? I don't know. There is a whole lot of negativity swirling around in this old world lately.
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.
--from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass--
Sunset at Fort Pickens, May 5, 2010
Please visit Ramblingwoods.com for this week's Nature Notes/Signs of the Season post and links to other posts by bloggers like me (or not, as the case may be)--which is as it should be, don't you think? It would be too boring if we were all exactly alike.