Two Years After: An Oil Spill Reflection

Today is the second anniversary of the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Here are links to two blog posts I did about the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

http://authorcarriecox.com/2010/06/24/on-a-serious-note/

http://authorcarriecox.com/category/deep-water-horizon/

Just last month I finally ate at a local seafood restaurant. I’m still not 100% certain of the safety of the gulf, but next month I’ll take my family to the beach–and let them play below the water line in the sand–for the first time in two years.

Turning a New Page in Life

My somber previous post has scared me away from blogging. But there’s now a (leaky) cap on the gushing BP oil well, so that’s a bit of an improvement. Enough said, there isn’t much Pollyanna in me about that issue. But here is a link to a haunting song by Mithril, inspired by the oil spill. The images on the video are all from better days gone by on local beaches. (My three kids each have a picture included.)

This week marks my first attempt at homeschooling my twelve-year-old son. He has a Neuro Immune Dysfunction, which causes autistic behaviors and has been receiving special services through the public school system since he was three. But there is no way I am going to send my sweet, innocent boy into the whirlwind of middle school. I’ve known I was going to homeschool him for the past year—and have been studying all I can on the subject and networking as much as possible for this socially awkward mother—but I spent most of my free time (amid numerous events and sick children) last week charting out an actual weekly planning page—a hybrid of a dozen I’ve looked at—and choosing the first week’s goals. And, I must admit, I also zoned out on Free Cell several times. I wrote absolutely nothing on my WIP and barely logged one journal entry in my notebook.
There is a time and a season for everything, and right now I need to restructure my day to fit it all in. I need to decide if I’ll write in the morning before the kids wake, which has been my exercise time, or attempt writing at night, when my mind is mostly mush, since quiet time might need to be used for one-on-one with the eldest. It’s a good thing Laurie Halse Anderson’s WFMAD is next month—I need some motivation!
Back to the homeschooling experience. Day One=Field trip! Community experiences at the post office, pediatrician’s office, pharmacy, and mall. Walking the mall was the fitness time for the day, too. At home, we took turns reading two books about farmers and pigs, and I let him flip through a third. Our unit study/theme is farms, which is something he loves. He copied twelve spelling words (taken from the farm books) three times and did thirty-five addition problems as part of a math review. And there were no meltdowns—success!
I praised him throughout the day and before bed I asked him if he liked doing work at home. He said yes and smiled. A warm fuzzy!
On a personal note, I’ve finally gotten around to some lighter–but deep–reading.


as well as

Still many more books on my library list and on my own shelves to read.
In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee I’m closing with one of a series of five poems I wrote for a freshman high school report. Each poem had to be from a different character’s perspective. Give me a break, I was only fourteen….
Personal Guide
Watching you grow up, that’s what it’s all about. Teaching you, watching you learn. No matter what you do, I’ll always be here for you.
I was put on Earth to guide you. So come, little children, stay close to my side. It’s a wicked world and I don’t want to lose you to its powerful influence.
But don’t be afraid, I’ll help you.. If there is any doubt in your mind, just stay close, my child. That’s what I’m ere for; a parent is a guide.

On a Serious Note


A week and a half ago, this was the view from our hotel room (compliments of my big sister, booked weeks before the Deep Water Horizon explosion) on Pensacola Beach. Beautiful, except for a slight tea colored staining along the water line. My children and nephews played in the sand, well above possible contamination. And blessed be the hotel’s pools!
But the oil has been gushing for over two months. Response is slow. Lack of nationwide support is disheartening. It might be a political statement from those with the power and money. It might be a way to show the evils of offshore drilling, by slowing the response to create prolonged damage. It might be a control game between public and private and government sectors. Heck, the oil rig might have been blown up by an enemy sub! I don’t know. But I do know our waters, our land, the creatures, and even the people who call this section of earth home are suffering.
Pensacola Beach had clumpy, brown oil washing on shore for several hours. Miles of scenic beaches are now splattered with sticky grime, much more difficult to clean than the previous tar balls. No skimmers were spotted from the shore and the state government admonished the federal government to send more skimmers to protect the coast of Florida. There are only a few skimmers covering the whole state—if you call that “covering”.
Four dolphins washed ashore off Pensacola Beach yesterday. Three were successfully placed back in the water but the forth, oil clinging to its side and face, didn’t survive. It made crying sounds and the rest of the pod—believed to be the dolphins who swim by Fort Pickens every morning—were jumping out of the water, trying to communicate with their lost member. A family vacationing from Arkansas, as well as other bystanders, were the unsung heroes. They shed their own tears as they worked to scrap off what oil they could with their bare hands. It’s difficult enough to explain to a four year old that the gulf water is dirty and we can’t play in it or build castles with the moist, easily shaped sand… but to witness the death of an innocent creature is an unforgettable teaching experience I hope to never encounter.
Bayley’s Seafood, opened in 1947, is a landmark near Mobile Bay. I’m not even local but I know it’s practically historic in nature among the true seafood eateries of L.A. (That’s Lower Alabama, not Los Angeles or Louisiana. I’ve learnt me somethin’ down here!) My family passes Bayley’s every time we drive to Dauphin Island. Their recipes are award winning but the owners are speaking out that they might have to close. Every week there is less fresh seafood to be bought. Less items to sell to customers.
A local charter boat captain—a husband and father—committed suicide on his boat and it is speculated at this time that his worries over the oil spill (dare we assume the fact that he wasn’t able to run his business as normal had anything to do with it?) were the catalyst.
These examples were taken from the first ten minutes of News 5 Wednesday night. Multiply these stories—and all those in the weeks before—by the unnumbered days that the oil will still be gushing. And then, again, by the time it takes the free floating oil to be collected, or washed up on the sugar white sand beaches of the gulf coast. Only then can we accumulate an idea of how catastrophic this is for our earth. For our wildlife. For our economy. For our health. For our children’s children.
And that’s not even touching on the dispersants and other chemicals being used…
On a sweeter note (let’s hope this link works, you might need to copy and paste), here’s a video of Norah Jones preforming “Dauphin Island” earlier this month: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NErh3OuMEzE&feature=related