Thursday, June 3, 2010

Oil Cometh

The fishing outside the Dry Tortugas National Park has been closed down owing to the proximity of the oil sheen in the Gulf of Mexico. The newspaper says it's a hundred miles north of the National Park which is seventy miles west of Key West accessible by ferry or seaplane. They believe the oil sheen may come within 50 miles (80kms) by the weekend.
The waters of the National Park, where fishing is never allowed, are spawning grounds for fish and coral which help keep the decrepit reef along the Keys resupplied with wildlife. Now this too is on the chopping block.I read the oil is coming out of the seabed at 13,000 pounds per square inch pressure and may not be stopped before the end of the year. I think there is ample time for everything to get nicely coated this summer, no matter what propaganda BP or their government lackeys put out. I took these pictures when I was camping there last Thanksgiving. I'm glad we went when the going was good.


To my surprise, it's that time of year and the streets of Key West are breaking out in disorganized bursts of orange again. You can't photograph a dog resting on a hot summer afternoon without cluttering your image with poinciana trees shouldering their way into the picture.Afternoon temperatures are in the mid 80's (30C) or higher and a dog in a fur coat no longer has the stamina she showed when temperatures were twenty degrees lower. I sat on a bench outside Five Brothers Cuban grocery and Cheyenne caught her breath.
Poinciana trees are brash and garish and dump quantities of rust colored dead blossoms everywhere so they are an unmitigated nuisance, but who can argue with their beauty?Some people can find fault with anything but I like these trees, not least because I like the bright colors and sharp contrasts that characterize colors in the natural tropics. I look out at deep blue skies, puffy white clouds and shiny green leaves. Some people like fog and drizzle and some like sun on a crisp snowfield. Me? This is my nirvana.I have noticed over the years that trees decorate wealthy neighborhoods. Poor people don't seem to merit the expense of foliage that occupies space that could be more profitably used in low class neighborhoods. Key West has plenty of wealth and thus plenty of trees.
The poinciana trees presage hurricane season and most likely I will have plenty to write about that fearsome natural event as summer goes along. The national weather folks are predicting a terrible year for storms and they may be proved right. I take predictions with a heaping of salt as all it takes to have a bad year is one direct hit by a major storm. That there may be a dozen storms tromping across the Atlantic between now and December doesn't mean much if they miss the Lower Keys. For now I plan to enjoy the splashes of orange and wait to see what storms head our way. Key West in summer is where I like to be. And we have a couple of road trips planned. Oh well, if we have to go out of state I plan to enjoy the drive, and I know Cheyenne will.
Last year's essay is here:

Expect to see flame trees in the background of many pictures all summer long. Another sign that Key West should be paradise.