The Sea: Master and Mother
I walk along the shore with the ocean expanding on my left until it converges with an orange blaze where the sun seems to sink into its depths. For a moment, the golden shaft nearly reaches to where my feet bathe in waves that run up the sand like rebellious children then retreat to their mother’s arms.
I proceed in twilight’s dusk to where the cliffs on my right reach out with knobby fingers of stone into the sea as if they might grasp and control the mighty deep. But the smooth surface of the boulders and the grains of sand between my toes tell me that the battle between land and sea was won long ago.
Shore birds dart to and fro with the waves and shifting tide, feeding on small creatures washed up onto the sand before the next wave retrieves them. The circle of life reaches from the sea where it begins with the largest subsisting on the smallest which provide the air I now breathe.
The sea is master. It assaults with storms and waves. Land crumbles in its angry tirades. The sun surrenders for a few hours, but the sea remains. Always, the sea remains.
The sea is mother, the source and sustenance of all. She caresses my face with the gentle breeze, she cools my feet and calms me with her constant drum beat.
I have slapped her face, yet the she remains, sustains, gives, feeds, caresses. And when we are gone, she will heal herself and renew the world.
Undulations of the Sea
As I approach the water, the pungence of the sea grows stronger with each stride. Waves break and wash onto the beach, then carry back into the surf crabs and seashells just delivered. Long legged shorebirds play tag with foamy run-up as it rushes across white sand. Pelicans fly in undulating synchronism over heaving swells where dolphins surface and dive again. Farther out, a humpback whale breaches, waves its flippers, and drops gracefully back into the briny depths.
Plastic Waste and the Ocean
Phytoplankton produces fifty percent of Earth’s oxygen. Our response is to continue to discard our plastic bags and bottles into their environment. Plastics break down to less than a millimeter and are consumed by phytoplankton. These microplastics cause the feces of phytoplankton to sink more slowly than normal so that they are more likely to be eaten by other animals. Microplastics have been found in the intestines of twenty-five percent of fish and thirty-three percent of shellfish sold at market.
People who live in the interior of continents tend to think the problem is caused by coastal populations. This simply is not true. Wind blows our plastic refuse to streams which carry them to rivers, then to the ocean. Support a ban on plastic grocery bags.
My home state is Michigan. How has our state government responded to this crisis? They banned banning plastic bags. Did you understand that? They didn’t ban plastic bags, they banned the banning of them. Local governments in Michigan cannot ban plastic bags in their jurisdictions. One Michigan county is challenging this law.
Find out what your state is doing to curb the pollution of our lakes, rivers and oceans with plastic grocery bags and disposable plastic bottles.