During our Saturday trip to Pensacola Beach today, we got our first glimpse of what’s here, and what’s to come with the oil spill in the Gulf.
Using some of their product, I have tried to articulate how we and many of our friends here in Pensacola feel about BP and the oil spill / death of millions of animals / destruction of habitats / screwing over of lives:
To be certain, this is only the tip of the iceberg. The blobs of oil we saw / stepped in / couldn’t avoid today were nothing compared to what’s a couple miles off shore, and even that is nothing compared to what’s slowly moving our way.
To say that we’re heartbroken doesn’t even begin to cover it.
We’re heartbroken for the wildlife that is being killed by this tragedy. We’re heartbroken for the lives ruined (those killed on the rig; the families left behind; those whose businesses and dreams are shattered; those of us who live on the Gulf coast who will be directly and indirectly affected financially for many years to come).
And we’re heartbroken for selfish reasons, too. When Lise and I moved here back in 2007, we did so for mental health reasons and because we had fallen in love with Pensacola Beach. Many long-time residents we’ve friended here think we’re somewhat crazy – coming to the beach three, four, even five times a week is not unusual for us. We watch the sunset. We collect shells. We sit together and dream dreams. We watch pelicans, terns, and other seabirds fly and live. We watch dolphins, schools of fish, sharks, cownose stingrays, and a vast number of other sealife swim with what seems to us like carefree abandon. We swim. We love. We are still in awe of the incredible diversity that the seasons bring to the shoreline. The peace and comfort we receive just being in the presence of the Gulf shore is indescribable.
Taking pictures today of Pensacola Beach littered with the first wave of tar balls / oil blobs hurt. Picking up a small amount of the oil and seeing how difficult it is to get that shit off of my hands was shocking. I still have oil stuck under / around my fingernails after washing my hands several times.
We’ve both cried. I’m sure we’ll be crying more. The pictures coming out of Louisiana are so painful that I’ve had to stop looking at them. The ramifications for our future here (mental health, financial, job-wise, etc.) are so shocking that we’ve not been able to have a coherent conversation about it yet. But we’re going to have to face this soon. I don’t know how we’re going to be able to stay here.
And for that: Fuck you, BP.