To the editor:
Talk about a “story moment,” I had one the other day. I walked down to water’s edge, sat with reflection and gazed out over this amazing body of water we call ocean.
As we all do in this storied town, we look to the ocean for inspiration, perhaps from its vastness, but certainly for the spiritual enlightenment it provides among its many gifts. Suddenly in my muse, simple sounds from endless waves came upon me, Deep Blue was speaking.
“I’m not feeling well these days,” he/she said. “I need help.”
What’s troubling you, Deep Blue? You seem forever vibrant so full of life.
“Most everyone sees me that way, but looks are deceiving. Beneath my surface are systems vulnerable to many of the same stresses humans have. I’m not well.”
Talk to me, Deep Blue.
“Slowly, my temperature is rising and, as I’ve learned from humans, that’s the first measure of something run amiss with the systems that keep us healthy.
“So I rode into Gloucester the other night on my high tide express hoping to hear good news from City Council chambers about one of my ailing systems —I believe you call ‘The Marsh at Brier Neck.’
“Marshes are something like your immune system flushing out toxins and providing habitats to the very life that keep me healthy. Over time, humans have taken my marshes in the name of progress with devastating effects. That along with a wide array of other incursions, are making me slightly more sick with each passing tide.
“So I was thrilled when I heard that Gloucester was moving to introduce ocean science into its mainstream. I learned that Endicott College is preparing to usher in an exciting curriculum of awareness to my plight. For me, that’s like a new drug discovery for a terminally ill patient. Hope springs eternal, or so I thought.
“But my delight turned to dejection. In an amazing turn of events, your City Council rejected an opportunity to take an important step validating its ocean science commitment for the sake of fiscal expediency.
“It didn’t make sense to me. The people of Gloucester flourish by my presence. Surely this was an aberration. Isn’t this minimal risk worth the grave risk of endangering my lasting health? Doesn’t my Good Harbor Beach offspring collect double that risk in fees each year allowing thousands to bathe in my waters? Is there anything that can be done to protect my natural ecosystems? I’m afraid that, if I get too sick, my tide will eventually rise to a point of no return and I’ll take back my marshes in what might be an unpleasant way.”
I hear you Deep Blue. Sometimes good intentions go astray, but this story is not a fait accompli.
Your health is our well being. You give us life and we are inextricably linked. It’s imperative we do everything we can to keep you well. The wonders of your gifts have made us deaf to the reality of your plight.
Let us all take this fabled truth and create a “story moment” for history to remember. It starts with the Brier Neck Marsh. Say it loud, say it proud, Deep Blue.