For many years summer in the South meant trips to Florida, sunning on the beach, visits with family and friends, and work in our garden. It was hot, it was miserable….and it was fabulous!!!
As time passed, my family began to vacation on the Mississippi coast….where huge antebellum homes lined the oak laden highway and the beach, a bit muddied by the mighty Mississippi River, was still so exciting to see. Casinos became the focal point in later years…and we’d take in shows and have more family fun poolside as the girls discovered lazy rivers and saltwater pools.
Then, Katrina made a disaster of the beautiful lazy Mississippi coast. Gone were those antebellum homes that had survived well over a hundred or two hundred years of inclement weather, gone was the well situated hotels and motels from my youth, gone were the favorite new places we’d shared with our children. Not only was the Mississippi coastline devastated, New Orleans suffered horrible flooding and hurricane damages as well.
I never thought we’d have to worry about the problems facing our “Southern Riviera” (sometimes referred to as the Redneck Riviera!) like the problems that are here now. While the Mississippi coastline has been relatively blessed to have less damage, perhaps because of our beautiful barrier islands, Louisiana, Florida and Alabama are suffering from the recent BP oil spill. Local television coverage shows great blobs of brown oil on once pristine beaches, a frothy brown topping to the waves that bring more and more of the substance onshore and lots of photos of the wildlife, taken usually covertly, of brown pelicans, dolphins and other sea life affected by the spill. There is one particular photo of a brown pelican that I simply cannot get out of my mind. It sits in a thick gooey sea of oil, cannot move other than to blink its eyes….and it is so sad. I have heard even the air at some beaches has the distinct odor of the oil hanging thickly in the heat.
Hurricane season is here, and we still have this spill in progress. Some say hurricanes will get rid on the problem naturally, some say the damages to the wetland south of Louisiana are irreparable, others say we are advancing on getting the problem corrected. Some even say the hurricanes could spread the problems further.
Many are searching for answers….and I hope one is found soon. It is mind-boggling how many people and animals are being affected.
I miss those old summer vacations on the beach. And I really hope a solution is in place very soon….for all involved,