It has been hard to write here for many months.
Sometimes I am struck silent by the weightlessness of words. They tumble and break around us and still I can’t make them loud enough to show what the ocean is. The pleasant crackling of corophium in the mud. The shifting smell of saltwater, laced sometimes with dried seaweed, sometimes with whipping wind. The quality of the grayish-turquoise of the back of a blue whale as it arcs endlessly just in front of a boat.
So I have told myself that you know already why it matters that we have sea turtles in the world.
And I have sat, uneasily, as the weeks slipped by and this page was quiet. And I have thought hard about what our work is. What our job is. What I should do. What is most useful. What is necessary. What is not just noise.
My lungs hurt when I took the first breaths after learning the head of the Environmental Protection Agency in Donald Trump’s administration is Scott Pruitt.
My thirteen-year-old son brought home his English assignment last night: interpret the lyrics of “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” one of Bob Dylan’s songs. My late father loved Dylan. I hadn’t thought of the song in years. But in an instant I was a little girl, lying in bed somewhere between awake and asleep, and the song was playing on our record player, its needle slightly scratchy.
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
There is an allure to the sense of despair. To sitting forlorn.
I have come to think that it is not what is needed now. That whether or not you already understand implicitly the wonder of the sea and of nature—whether it is etched deeply in your bones, your DNA, your heart—it matters that we talk about it. That we call it out to one another and to people who don’t know it yet. That we sing it sometimes like an anthem and sometimes like a lullaby.
Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
Dylan’s distinctive voice slipping past my dad at the dining room table and up the stairs and down the hall to my room.
I’m a-goin back out ’fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’