Monday, May 03, 2010


Today I wish I was writing of frivilous wonderful stitching things but I can't. Today I am writing to tell you all about my place. If you've read this blog for anything length of time I'm sure you know how much I love where I live. I can't imagine anyone not wanting to live here in North West Florida. It's a special place. It's a beautiful place. And where I live isn't as developed as most and I don't ever want it to be. If you vacation in my town you are here for one reason and one reason only, you love the beach. Why is that? Because Dude, it's all we have. We don't have any water parks, we have only a few restaurants and only a handfull of chain restaurants. There's one or two touristy type shops. We have two groceries and a Walmart. We have two hotels and they aren't even on the beach. One is on the sound and one is across the highway from that, snuggled in between the Taco Bell and the KFC. When we moved here I had almost as many books as the local library and even had way more books on tape than they did.

Over the last few days I've thought a lot about how tired I was of this place over the winter. I was deeply jealous of those that had snow and short dark days, and the perfect excuse to cook something slow in the oven, build a fire, and hunker down with a pile of stitching. You see, where I live, when the sun is out as it tends to be the better part of the year, there is this need to be outside, soaking up that vitamin D that so much of the country is lacking come the dark days of February. There is this deep guilt, at least for me, at sacrificing any beautiful day to the indoors. Mother Nature calls me out constantly, begging me to drink in her beauty, not hide inside. Sometimes I found her calls so very annoying when I wanted to be indoors getting a good solid case of stitch ass. But it's not who I am. I am that girl sitting on the porch with a book or some stitching, do I need to admit how dirty my stitching gets from stitching outside? It's one of the reasons I don't find it too hard to stay with good old DMC, I can wash my needlework without a second thought. I am also that girl that wants to be on the beach every single minute of a gorgeous day. Not so much tanning but just sitting on the beach hoping for that random dolphin appearance. They don't swim by as often as you'd think. There's that excitement when walking on the beach in the early morning and you find turtle eggs. There's the thrill of finding an in perfect condition sand dollar. There are pelicans and herons and sea gulls that can spot a potato chip a mile away and then before you know it you are swarmed like a scene out of Hitchcock's The Birds. There is white sand. There's the scent of Coppertone and Hawaiian Tropic. There are the screams of kids getting knocked down by waves and the full throttled scream of that kid whose feet have never touched sand, never seen a wave, and it won't happen this day. These are the sites and sounds of my place. But now that view has changed. Not from a hurricane but a situation created by man.
This is Boom, it's stretched across many, many miles of the Gulf coast right now.

This boom is protecting a bird sanctuary in Pensacola Bay or maybe it's the sound, I get them confused. Should I share with you that after taking these pictures I slipped in some gunk on the sidewalk and fell right on my big old butt, right in front of Sunday traffic on Bayfront Parkway? I am so freakin' graceful it's not even funny.
This morning it was reported that 20 sea turtles were found dead on the beach in Pass Christian, Mississippi. This is only the beginning.
The oil is still gushing from under the Gulf at 210,000 gallons a day, and some experts are saying that it could be more, there's just no way of knowing.
I am not a property owner, I don't live on the beach. We don't own a boat. I don't own a business, but this place, this place is mine. I spent most of my childhood planning my move to Pensacola Beach. I'm not there but I'm close. My dad talked for years about moving down here, after every family vacation, I didn't talk, I did it. I was lucky enough to marry someone willing to go where ever I wanted and it was here. The beaches are so much more than sand to me. They are my church, my cathedral, my holy place. They are where I go to connect with that Higher Power. These beaches, the Gulf, it's where I find strength, it's where I find my peace. The connection is deep and solid and real.
What is happening right now is beyond my comprehension. I am heartbroken and I'm pissed off.
I do not support off shore drilling and I don't vote for politicians who do. There are people much smarter than me who said this kind of tragedy could never happen but I always thought it was a possibility. It only makes sense.
There is so much I want to say and I can't find the words. For many people across the country what is happening down here is nothing more than a phone call or two to change vacation plans, for those of us living and working and raising families down here the oil slick will change our lives for many years to come. Some small fishing businesses and restaurants may never bounce back.
I ask all of you reading this to please pay attention to the news stories, check out my local papers online:
And our local tv station:
Let's hope BP's Dome Plan works because Plan B will take a minimum of 60 days to put into action. As it is Plan A will take at least a week to get in place and it's truly a crapshoot as to whether or not it will work.


Margaret said...

Hugs to you, Melissa. It's truly tragic.

Sylvia said...

Melissa, although I am living in Europe right now, and this oil spill seems so remote, I am deeply saddened & concerned about this. I cannot even imagine the devastation that is happening to our environment and peoples lives. It is a tragedy of unimaginable proportions. I still to this day refuse to buy any gasoline from Exxon due to their negligence with the Exxon Valdez. I know that this oil spill just dwarfs that one. My deepest sympathies to all.

Anna van Schurman said...

I know what you mean about the sunshine making you go outside. I think that may be why I had to finally leave L.A. I just needed a snow day! (I've had enough now, thankyouverymuch.)

I'm sorry that the gulf keeps getting hammered. I've written my letters to the guvmint and take public transportation to decrease our dependence on oil. Is that too political for a stitching blog comment?

MyLifesAStitch said...

Awesome awesome post! Well said!

Missy Ann said...

I'm sorry BP shit all over your home. Living close to Texas City where BP kills people on a regular basis - I'm no fan of theirs.

We had an oil spill in one of the rivers right by my house when I was a teenager - I still remember the smell. And the damage. It's awful, I really feel for you & all the people along the coast. Not to mention all the wildlife.

P.S. My verification word "haterly". That would be my attitude. lol

Glenna said...

So sad, Melissa. I am very worried and upset about this. The guys in suits--they just ruin everything.

Barb said...

The oil spill is a shame and it's so sad. I am so disappointed that Obama (and I am one of his ardent supporters) decided to expand oil exploration in the ocean. In the end, though, it is our greed for cheap energy and the companies that supply it that are to blame. I hope that they will be able to somewhat contain the spill. I really enjoyed reading your post.

Siobhan said...

Well said, Melissa. Big hugs.

Sharon said...

Melissa, what a beautiful post. ((((Melissa)))) I feel so bad about the oil spill its just awful. What a tragedy. I love the ocean too, though I live in the mountains, I miss that sea air. Soak up some sun for me dear friend. xoxox

Michelle said...

Wonderful post. I feel for you and all the wildlife that's been affected.

Ter'e said...

I, too, live in Florida - right below Tampa. I am sick to death over what has happened in our state. Your post was dead on, girl!
I know it's heading our way and there is nothing I can do about it - but pray for our animals and our environment.
I love our sealife - the fish - the turtles - the smallest of smallest creatures and plants. My heart breaks over how many thousands and thousands of lives this will affect.
Another tragedy for our country to face.
Thank you for the beautiful heartfelt post.