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Posts Tagged ‘environmental story’

On a recent expedition to the Falls of the Ohio I came across a small section of the Ohio River within the park that surprised me because of all the coal I found.    Over this warmer than usual January, the Ohio River has fluctuated due to the rain and snow that have fallen upriver from us.  While it made for interesting photographs, the contrast between the muddy waters and the blackness of the shoreline was also disturbing.  It made me wonder if this would become part of the new normal conditions that I would keep encountering upon each visit to the park?  As I walked along with my camera and collecting bag in hand I kept wondering why all this coal was showing up here? I kept looking for witnesses that might provide clues and insights into this alarming situation at the river.

The first potential witness I came across was this toy reindeer who was staring up at the sky with eyes as black as coal.  I asked it if it knew what had happened…but the plush toy with matted fur said nothing and just looked at me.  I shrugged it off and continued down the riverbank looking for answers.  Soon I came to another toy and posed the same question to it.

I asked, “Do you know what happened here?”  The small plastic monkey just laughed and told me to keep walking.  What I was seeking was just ahead.  He then nonchalantly rolled over on his side with this bemused look on his face.  At least that was something to go on and I continued walking not knowing what to look for but trusted I would recognize it when I saw it.  Before long I came to another toy and thought it might know what had happened, but first I had to do a little bit of work.

Poking out of the driftwood was this doll head and at first I thought that this was all that was left of this unfortunate toy.  I began to walk away when the head spoke to me and said that if I would help it out…in thanks it would help me too.  It took a bit of doing, but I was able to move the branches and small logs that were covering it and soon the complete doll saw the light of day again.

The doll was water-logged and dirty and I noticed that one of its arms was broken.  After recovering for a moment, the doll said the reason the beach was black had to do with the hand of man.  If I kept walking east that this would become clearer.  I thanked the doll and left it where I found it and moved on.  Soon I would find other evidence that would support what the doll told me.

About ten minutes later I came upon this old rubber glove and figured I was getting nearer to the “hand of man”.  As I continued down the river’s edge  I began to find bits and pieces of discarded machinery along the way.  The first find was an old generator and this is how I found it in the sand.

Near it was another buried machine that was being washed over by the waves of the Ohio River.  I took this photograph and kept walking.

I figured I was getting nearer my quest when I saw this monstrous truck with immense tires  parked in the coal dust, wood chips, and mud.   Was this vehicle somehow involved with the coal?

The truck was still functional and I surmised that its operator was probably near by.  It didn’t take me long to locate him.  He was taking a break and having a meal in a section of the park that had experienced a fire a few months a go.  I decided to approach him to ask about the coal.

With one jaundiced eye, the truck driver looked me over and took another bite from whatever he was eating.  He asked me what I wanted and I posed my coal question to him.  The driver admitted that he indeed had played a hand in this environmental destruction, but wasn’t willing to take full responsibility.  He said it was part of the cost of keeping warm in the winter and cool in the summer and that it provided much-needed jobs during these economic hard times.  He further added that if I truly was looking for someone to blame I didn’t need to go any farther than the person I saw staring back at me in a nearby pool of still water.  Of course, what I saw was my own reflection and I understood the truck driver’s point of view.  I left the driver to his meal and started for home.  I resolved then and there that I could at least do the little things to reduce my own demands for energy.  I would start by looking around my house for ways to save electricity.  Now where are those funny shaped light bulbs?

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