A Facebook friend from Mississippi recently made this supplication:
“Oil is moving closer to our Mississippi Gulf Coast…workers are working 12-14 hours a day to keep it away from us…they are cleaning Dolphins, turtles, Birds, and other animals that are coming to us for help !!! Please pray for the workers and the extreme heat that they are battling…..We are all in it, together…God Bless our Mississippi Gulf Coast !!!!!”
I’ve been hearing about this horrible oil spill daily, more than twice or three times. It looks bad, however, it didn’t hit home with me until I read this from my Facebook friend. And while viewing the PBS Newshour tonight, the vice president of the Shrimping Industry Association was talking from his head and heart about how workers that are working for BP in the clean-up process and that includes himself, are getting sick due to chemicals and the exposure to the spewing petroleum. Little children are getting rashes. Mothers are keeping their little ones locked up in the house. It’s bad enough that helpless animals and birds are being killed.
I live in the mountains. The mountains, my landscape, my environment, my milieu, are a part of me. I dreamed for a long time to live in the shadow of these strong massive jutting rocks surrounding Pikes Peak. I became educated, planned and moved here 12 years ago. I returned to Oklahoma for family reasons and then moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota with a family member for almost 7 years. I lived 4 blocks from a glacial lake and a few miles from about 900 more. I loved fishing these lakes and I’ll never forget those blue and silvery reflective mirrors of wildlife and beauty at 5:30 in the morning. However, the mountains drew me to them again and I have been here for almost 4 years this time. Many people feel that draw, that soul grabbing pull to the ocean and have become part of that landscape, loving in it, working in it and thriving. So to have ones landscape destroyed is like killing a part of the people that have built their lives in that landscape.
One of my favorite poets, Nancy Wood, is from the area in which I live. I would like to share one of my favorites and most meaningful poem of hers. For those of you who love the gulf coast, including my friend from Mississippi, replace the word mountain with ocean. Replace the word rock with sandy beach, and the word stream with never ending clear blue sky. And ask the sun and beautiful landscape that is in your backyard and soul to receive the anger from your heart…
“My help is in the mountain
Where I take myself to heal
The earthly wounds
That people give to me.
I find a rock with sun on it
And a stream where the water runs gentle
And the trees which one by on give me company.
So must I stay for a long time
Until I have grown from the rock
And the stream is running through me
And I cannot tell myself from one tall tree.
Then I know that nothing touches me
Nor makes me run away.
My help is in the mountain
That I take away with me.
Earth cure me. Earth receive my woe. Rock strengthen
me. Rock receive my weakness. Rain wash my sadness
away. Rain receive my doubt. Sun make sweet my song.
Sun receive the anger from my heart.”