Monday, July 06, 2009

Dominion

We are living in a tourist town at the moment and it has pretty much driven us insane. Well, it's not that we weren't insane before, it's just that it was at a comfortable and manageable level. Now our abhorrence of crowds and noise has driven us indoors on even sunny days. While it may be true that what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas, what happens in our little tourist town filters up from the streets into our open windows. We hear a cacophony of car radios, conversations, sirens, dogs barking, coast guard helicopters, slurred foul shouts from the throats of ignorant drunks. There is an omnipresence of noise matched only by the endless light that casts its eerie glow rippling out and further out on to the night sea. It never freakin' ends.
If you were to look out the window at the expanse of Monterey Bay that spreads before our eyes everyday, you'd swear we were in the most heavenly spot on earth. But here's what living here the past nine months has revealed to us: The ocean cannot defend itself from our every insult. What appears pristine is a body of water that no longer can adequately feed the marine life that must find food here here. The sea otter, which once made a comeback from being mercilessly hunted for its fur, is in decline for the first time in a decade. Sea lions are dying in droves. Yearlings are washing up on our local beaches. We spared you a photograph of one that we spotted just below these achingly beautiful cliffs. Both the pelicans and cormorants have been starving this year. We watch them flying back and forth, back and forth searching for what we have already taken by the net-fulls from the sea.
There is something so incredibly pacifying about staring out at an endless horizon along an expanse of blue blue waters. So many come here to appreciate this beauty, but many come to treat the earth with a heartless disdain. Their fishing lines snag and snarl whatever innocent happens along; their propellers rip the flesh of unseen mammals; their oil and gas leave paisley slicks on the surface; their effluence goes straight to the heart of the matter.

People often ask us why we would ever want to leave here. There is only one real answer: Staying means staring into the most beautiful of illusions everyday.

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