Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tiny pebbles

(Remember, you can click on any image to view it larger)

Elmers Island, Louisiana --

What follows is a series of three images... so you can feel the same sense of disbelief that I felt when I came upon this scene. It's so subtle that I was dumbfounded. I've been at the site of the oil spill, I've seen the slicks, but I was still dumbfounded. The first image is a wide shot of the beautiful beach, lush with sand, framed by a gentle surf and strewn with tiny shells and pebbles.

The second image is a closer view of those pebbles, so round and perfect. Just like any beach might have.

This third image is a closeup of the pebbles. But, wait. Those aren't pebbles. I picked one up. It broke apart in my hand like a warm m&m. Those little "pebbles" are tar balls. Yes, tar balls. Little semi-solid nuggets of oil washing up on our beaches by the millions. They wash up every single day. The workers are dutifully cleaning the beaches, yet these little pellets of petroleum keep sweeping ashore like some bizarre kind of D-Day invasion.

Is this the kind of sand we want squishing between our toes?

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