...in remembrance of the oil spill that left our Gulf Coast in ruins, and in honor of its recovery, I've republished, "Poisoning the Gulf," a short that I penned with heavy heart, following the disaster.
Enjoy, and never forget...
A rogue pelican flutters thirty feet above the coastline bordering Louisiana's southern peninsula. No longer capable of spreading its wings to their full width, its movements appear awkward, its trajectory tilted as if the bird were attempting to fly at a ninety degree angle.
It hitches a ride on an ocean breeze, the winds pushing the incoming tide toward the deserted shoreline.
Lowering its body to a foot or two above the rolling waves, the bird dips its head into the water as it veers into a glide. Submerged no more than a second, then rising, struggling to gain altitude.
Its bucket-shaped bill, designed for scooping unsuspecting fish from the ocean's current, has captured only a mouthful of sludge, which slowly drains from either side of its mouth like a busted sewer pipe. Rotting sewage returning to its basin to ferment under a bayou heatwave.
The pelican hasn't fed in a week. While fish dot the water's surface in vast numbers, their silver scales resembling diamonds sparkling in a field of tar, they're floating with the tide, lost to the poison. The few survivors have gone deep, in search of an ocean free of disease.
A filmy layer of mucus blocks the pelican's vision, allowing it access to a world gone black, through a line of sight the size of a pinhole. And of course there's the added weight to consider. With every plummet to the water in search of food, a fresh veil of oil coats the bird's already failing wings. Unlike salt-water, the poison refuses to filter through the its feathers, but instead clings to anything within reach, forming a mold, slowly enveloping its victim like a spider's web.
Hunger pains grab the bird's spine and clench. It calls out for assistance, but finds none. It is the last surviving member of its flock. And the weight continues to push downward to where the black sea awaits.
We've plundered our world's resources, pierced its core and released the bile within. It rose to the surface, its tentacles reaching for our shores, choking the life of every living soul in its path. A mass of slimy filth, polluting our ecosystem, turning our once green waters to mud. And all for a population bent on moving faster, on keeping our food colder, and our water warmer.
The Gulf lies in ruin. A sea of tar. Waves of poison splashing ashore and tainting our sands to a gelatinous ooze. The underbelly of our planet's core. A multitude of seaborne bodies floating atop an ocean dying, its curse spreading further with the current.
And unnoticed to anyone but the dead or dying, a once majestic bird, now nothing more than hollow bones wrapped in soot, releases a final screech before plummeting from the skies to its floating grave below. Swallowed up by the poisons set free by those held in charge of sustaining our planet.