Thursday, October 13, 2011

So, So Sorry

One of my friends at work lives on Waiheke. She grew up in Oregon, dreaming in the forest, and now she bush walks with her boyfriend and they take care of the land and beach around them. She loves shells but he doesn't let her take them from the beach; if there's one she really can't leave behind, he gets her to thank Tangaroa for it. The two of them give me hope for a lot of things, but especially the land.

Today at work she wasn't very talkative. She went straight to the drawer where we keep the things we use to make cards, and she started a series about the oil spill. When she went on her break I looked at one. It was a map of the Bay Of Plenty, and she had written over it We Love You Tangaroa, and drawn hearts around it.

I'm not angry anymore. The situation is still worth feeling that way, but I watched the news tonight and cried, and realised right now I just feel sad. I watched people who love birds and spend their lives protecting and nurturing them having to sort through their carcasses, counting their oil-covered bodies. Then I saw a young guy sitting on the beach alone, crying. It reminded me of the scene in Whale Rider when the whales beach themselves and the community try to help them, but they know it means something, and they feel their part in it. I realised my part in it. I use oil. I don't know where it comes from, or how it comes. I don't know if what I bought today came on a ship that isn't sea-worthy. I do know that it probably caused hardship for someone; especially if it contains oil. Someone probably lives in a country that has been torn apart by war because I use oil.

The land and sea are gifts to us; we can use them but they don't belong to us. We are their caretakers. What have we done?

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