I remember the moment I heard about the meltdown at Three Mile Island. I was standing on the porch at 16 Mine Street, the house my parents purchased to keep me at Rutgers. There was an announcement about how the nuclear core had melted and much speculation about the area that was threatened, an area that included my home. I remember looking up at the sky, it was a really beautiful night, and imagining all those particles drifting down, silently entering our bloodstreams or maybe not so silently.

I grew up on the idea that we were destined to be nuked. Long before microwave ovens, the term "nuke" was applied to what the Russians would do to us if our special TV heroes like Illya Kuriakin and Napoleon Solo, skinny ties and sleek looking guns, Men from Uncle, did not succeed in defeating the nefarious but inevitably dull witted Soviet baddies. We were instructed to get under our desks and cover our heads. And then I found out about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Not because my parents got married on the day they dropped the bomb on Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) but because of history class. The image that was seared into my memory was a mother and child vaporized into a city wall, bones melted away, nothing to remember, nothing to mourn. It seemed absolutely inconceivable to me that we would have decided to use a weapon that would cause that much devastation. But then it was World War II and no one expected most of what was discovered when that war ended.

And so the oil leak. No, it's not a weapon of mass destruction but all along the coastline there is such damage people grieve for the life they didn't know was in danger. I heard people screaming at these town meetings where they are trying to explain how the loss of the fishing industry, the ability to make a living, the loss of the brown Pelicans and these little sea birds called blades has caused them so much pain. The robot that speaks for the oil people started to respond stating the company's intention to compensate those who were hurt by this accident. "Can you give me my life back?" the woman asked. "No," he said.

After my sister was killed by a drunk driver I tried to find somewhere to be, somewhere that didn't feel wrong. The first moment I experienced relief was diving into a wave on Cape Cod, the sea water started a healing process I could not experience anywhere else. Our beaches represent life, eternity and nature. I am so sorry for the ugliness of human beings.


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