Poseidon is angry.
Whenever I see the ocean looking grumpy like this, it always makes me think of my favorite piece of literature, The Odyssey. In the Odyssey, Odysseus maims Polyphemos, the cyclop and son of Poseidon. This angers Poseidon and he makes Odysseus’ return home a long and difficult journey. These waves might not look like much compared to other parts of the world, but these waves are a sign that Poseidon is angry.
We spent Sunday afternoon at Pensacola Beach cleaning up trash, debris and large shell pieces along with hundreds of other people. It was amazing to me how many people were at the beach on an awful day like Sunday. The wind was blowing and there were so many clouds in the sky that they formed one big cloud cover. The mood was heavy as people picked up trash and debris with their trash bags whipping around them in the wind. Families were snapping pictures of toes in the sand and the water crashing behind them. The seafood restaurants had lines out the door all day long. Everyone wanting to eat that last Gulf caught meal…just in case.
Big S, who just finished an Earth Day unit in school, announced that we were doing a good thing for the “Erf” and Little S was fascinated with all of the pieces of driftwood and large shell pieces.
We collected a bag of trash and a bag of shell pieces. Some of the debris was probably still leftover from Hurricane Ivan over five years ago. As my children ran around innocent of what was going to happen in the next few days, my heart was breaking.
My kids love the beach. The sand, the water, the seafood whisper my children’s names like some pied piper. We can be grocery shopping or doing something else completely different from a day at the beach and suddenly one child will ask when we will return to the beach. Is it warm enough, mom? We don’t even have to go in the water, mom. Can we just go for a walk on the sand, mom? Do you remember when we saw all those fiddler crabs, mom? As I watched my children run around, pick up trash and shells, all I could think about was whether or not we took full advantage of living near these beautiful beaches and the fact that there is a chance that we will not be spending the summer traveling to and from the beach as I had thought.
The impending doom is much like it was during Hurricane Ivan. How bad will it be? Who and what will be affected? As I write this, no one is exactly certain how this area with be affected.
If you would like to help, there are several ways. Continue to pick up trash and debris from the beach before the oil slick reaches us. BRACE, United Way and First Call are organizing volunteers for cleanup after the oil reaches the shores. There is more information on how to volunteer here and here.
Stop by Mara’s at Mother of All Trips to see what others are dreaming of.