Thursday, November 15, 2007

Our Bay

Today I was driving across the Bay Bridge when my eyes were caught by an eccentric fog formation around the westward side of Angel Island. I wish I had my camera to try to capture it. But I was driving, so how would I have taken a photo of it, anyway? The fog had collected in a frozen wave, pushed against the island and towering up and beginning to crest back over itself. But underneath was a clear layer of air, where the fog had evaporated, so the wave was hanging suspended over the water. Under it I could see the island shoreline.

The bay and its shoreline has been in my mind--the whole Bay Area's mind--as every morning we pick up the paper and find out how many more birds have been retrieved covered with oil, and how many hours the Coast Guard waited before acknowledging the size of the spill and launching the cleanup. The oil spill happened nearly a week ago. It makes me feel sick and sad. I have not been to the beach since it happened, but a friend went with her sons and said their feet got covered in sticky oil from walking around in their flip-flops. And this wasn't even one of the beaches that was closed. She could see little blobs of oil. There was no one doing cleanup there.

As I drove next to the shoreline, I could see one of the booms that is supposed to be keeping the oil away from the shoreline. And I saw mounds of white plastic bags that the cleanup workers have been using to bag up the tainted sand and oil. They seemed very small efforts in the immensity of the mess.

This photo was from a sailing trip during the Fleet Week air show last month with our generous friends who have a sailboat. You can see two Blue Angels in the center of the photo. It was a stunning day to be on the water, with the Blue Angels thundering overhead. I love to look at the bay from all angles but to be on it--surrounded by it--was a real treat. I like to think of the bay on that day, sparkling and choppy, instead of in its current state, sullied by black oil.

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