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  • Writer's picturejodieharburt

Sea Sorrow

After the rain an early stroll along the beach seemed like a great idea. Approaching the shore it became apparent that the speckles upon the wet sand weren't just freshly washed up shells, but an even spread of small plastic debris. As usual here in Turkey* the first assault had been the incomprehensible amount of scattered cigarette butts and pumpkin seed shells.

Dark clouds loomed ominous and more rain was imminent, but the sea looked so innocent and pure, somehow detached from the detritus it had washed up, like the phlegm coughed up from the chest of a recovering infant. The sea had managed to reject some of the rubbish humankind had bestowed upon it. As I looked around the beach where even the sun loungers were slowly shedding minute plastic particles I could see that anything human made was rubbish or some shoddily built thing. I wondered do we have no remorse? Surely just as the micro-beads in beauty products are a belatedly known pollutant it must be known that many other plastic products need urgent banning. I felt giddy with the horror of it, despair dropped from the spinning thoughts in my head to the weight upon my shoulders and trickled down into my spine… but then the sea was around my boots** calming and soothing me from my feet up. The sea induced me to stop.

I stopped the debate, blame, diatribe, rhetoric, questioning, fear, abhorrence and a dozen other things that were battling it out in my brain.

I looked out to the sea and felt unutterably ashamed.

I spoke silently to the sea.

"I am so sorry" I repeated over and over again. The sea washed over my boots and carried on unimpressed with my sorrow. How can I repent? How can I heal the damage. How can I clean up the mess? Sure; I can pick up one or two bottles and cans but there are millions of particles in the sea affecting every living organism on this planet including us, the stupid perpetrators of this crime.

The sea gently lapping at my feet persisted in reminded me to lift my head and look out to the horizon, to feel the enormity and strength and to open my heart.

I can't ask it to forgive, it is not a benevolent force, it is a pure manifestation of the essence of nature. It gives and takes, it destroys and creates, it shelters and devastates. The sea and the oceans are as alive and much more so than we. Their health is not only essential to our well being it is intrinsic to, we are after all around 60% water, we are made of the same stuff.

The sea doesn't care about me, it would drown me in an instant and send rocks hurling at my head if the weather insisted, but I know the sensation of immersion, of living the underwater world, of seeing the treasures that reside there mostly hidden from our view. I've swam at night and felt the darkness and water engulf me in the blood warm Mediterranean and I've wondered where I end and the sea starts... had we become one? Could I just breathe the sea in?

I've seen the magic and the mystery that makes the sea a place for the deepest spiritual awakening, but it has no part in our anthropomorphism. So it won’t forgive, neither will it blame or seek revenge, it simply is. And it is our job to take radical and immediate action so as to have the right and the possibility to also simply be.

* Please see my (soon to be posted) post 'Hope found in Fethiye' regarding my generalization about smokers and pumpkin seed consumers here in Sile, Turkey.

** I mention my boots, they are (like my rain coat) made of plastic. I'm trying to figure out a way to be non hypocritical, to set an example by minimizing my damage while maximizing the benefits that human progress has afforded us. This is one of the main purposes of this blog and I think its essential to face and challenge our inconsistencies.

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