Kate Clinton

Summer Solace

Filed By Kate Clinton | June 24, 2010 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: BP, Gulf Coast, oil spill, Provincetown

Here in gorgeous Provincetown, three days after the summer solstice, I walk out the jetty at the far west end of town. I have started many walks here in all kinds of weather, often with a burdened mind. Most days by the return, I cannot imagine what bothered me. It is as if I have left the problem for an outgoing tide.

Everyone has her healing place. I find faith in the changing sameness of the tides. Ptown_beach.jpgWho could believe that old bleached, beached rowboat will float in a few hours? And then be beached again? It was not until two weeks after 9/11, one late September afternoon, when I swam in the warm shallow pools at the end of the jetty, that I felt some relief, a chance that I might return to my body.

Despite this glorious day, I am troubled.

I take a breath and step out onto the first huge uneven rocks warmed from the day, lichen-covered. The chlorophyll in the reeds is in overdrive. I think I can hear it. The sun on the water blinds. The gulls and ducks dive and bob. The swallows skim for bugs. The breeze kicks up. The tadpoles dart in the rippled shadows. The crabs scurry diagonally against the tide.

But this day as I return with one final sigh off my rocky walk, I still carry my worry with me. I feel for the Gulf residents watching their beloved coast, their healing place - birds, water, reeds - get tarred and choked. I cannot imagine their sadness.

This summer I walk this glorious tumble of rocks for them.

(Photo via geoship's Flickr photostream.)

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That is my Gulf, my respite, my home, my peace at sunset on the west coast of Florida. It is in my dreams as I live landlocked a thousand miles away. And it is my nightmare, with the very few images I have allowed myself to view, heartsick and sick to my stomach over the torturous loss of life and astonishing ineptitude as more poison is applied to the ocean in an effort that only hides the oil from our sight. I am enraged and helpless at the enormity of it all. God help all who are affected, and that is all of us. In the great words of Pogo, "we have met the enemy and he is us."

Well said, Betty. And today the first death, a sea captain who couldn't face that horrid future took his own life. What have we done?