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The Spill

The Daydreams of a Believer

Jeannie Zokan

Jeannie Zokan has lived on the Gulf Coast since 1992. Her work has been published in "Emerald Coast Review," "The Hurricane Review," "Islander" and "Navarre News." She and her husband Chris have two daughters and two dachshunds, and all of them love the beach.

It’s been hard to think about anything but the oil spill since the violent wound started gushing this past April.  “Ground Zero” is only one hundred and thirty miles from Pensacola Beach, the beach I can ride my bike to, so it’s not surprising that my mind wanders to the Disaster now and then.  I know it’s on the minds of many, but I’m curious about something.  Is anyone else having fantasies of being the one that caps that leak and brings all the animals to safety?  Or of being the person that finally gets through to Tony Hayward, bringing him to his knees in long overdue remorse?   I also fantasize that when President Obama or Anderson Cooper visit the coast, they stay with my family, getting a first-hand view of life here.  And I imagine producing an award-winning documentary with local children explaining the effects of the Disaster.  A sunny little eight-year-old would give me a sound bite like, “Sea turtles will be extinct, and they are my second favorite animal.”  In another dream, Jimmy Buffet uses my lyrics for a new verse in his sweet and poignant song, “Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On,” about Hurricane Katrina.  He’ll sing them when he visits the area, after he takes my family and me out to lunch. Here they are:

The oil came, it washed up on our coast

And it’s so sad, we all just stand and cry,

     On our white shores, stained with coffee tar

       The stuff we had to have just might kill us all.

(Hey, I didn’t say they were good…)

My favorite fantasy, though, is that I convince everyone to believe, together, that the oil spill is stopped, and our coast is cleaned up and restored.  Oprah Winfrey said, “What you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for.  You become what you believe.”  After I convince everyone to believe we can find a solution, I’ll sit on Oprah’s couch and she and I will talk about how believing stopped that oil spill. 

I think I daydream about doing big things because I care so deeply and feel so helpless.  The beach is a significant part of my life.  It’s like family, and it’s where I go to play with my children, do some yoga, take a walk, watch the waves roll in, look to the horizon for dolphins, and connect with something much bigger than I am.  I miss the beach, and all I can really do is breathe in, breathe out, and try to believe that it will survive.

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