Monday, December 27, 2010

Oil Spill

The November/December Issue of Orion Magazine contains a beautiful piece by nature writer Terry Tempest Williams. She travels to the site of the oil spill months after its onset, well into the "clean-up" stage, with 2 friends (a photographer and videographer). I picked up this magazine at my friend Craig's house a couple months ago. The world she creates with her words is all-consuming, and and sat utterly transfixed on the stairs. This is a gentle and lurid encounter with the people and place that are feeling the brunt of our insatiable thirst for oil. Horror, anger, fear, and a sense of connection to the people and place washed over me as I traveled with her, eavesdropping on her conversations with the locals, seeing the landscape through her eyes and sharing her musings. But when I came to this line, from the helicopter pilot who flies Terry over the explosion site itself and the expanse of oily ocean that surrounds it, the tears finally welled up. Not sadness so much, or anger, but shame. Shame that we are so willing to destroy this planet in the face of those who have peacefully shared it for so many eons. Here is the excerpt. I invite you to read the full article as well.

Tom[the pilot] tells us of flying with photographers John Wathen and J Henry Fair filming the oil burning. “It was apocalyptic,” he says. “But the image that continues to haunt me was the group of dolphins facing the fires, perfectly lined up on the edge of the flames, together, watching.”