The trivia question for this week: What is the only Beatles song that Ringo Starr is credited for having written alone?
Anyone who knows me or has read some of my blogs knows I love the ocean. In fact, it’s more than love, it’s a passion. It’s as if something from far away, some other life force, demands that I be near the sea.
It may seem odd that a kid born in Tennessee, the greenest state as noted in the Davy Crockett song, is in love with the ocean. After all, Knoxville, the city of my birth, is 435.1 miles from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where the closest ocean is, to the best of my reckoning (don’t ya just love the word reckoning?). I should be in love with mountains and forests and the like, and I do love mountains. I lived on one in West Virginia, a story I tell in the blog “Mountaintop Days.” I also love the desert. I’ve been lucky enough to have seen a great deal of my country, but it’s the ocean I feel closest to. As I wrote in my blog “Winter and the Lonely Surfer,” the ocean was and always will be the expression of the mysterious, especially at night. I wanted the depths of the darkness to talk to me and the ocean, the endless unknown ocean, where I could hear the splash of life.
Rambling Harbor is a very small peninsula located some place on the north shore of New England between Boston and imagination. At high tide, when the small strip of land that connects it to the mainland is covered by water, it’s an island. There is a place I go in the summer to watch the few lobster boats come in and unload their catch of the day. Being a lobsterman or fisherman is hard work and it’s dangerous work, as detailed in the movie The Perfect Storm about the Andrea Gail, a commercial fishing vessel that was lost at sea with all hands after being caught in an unnamed hurricane in 1991 that was later referred to as the “perfect storm.” One thing that you see in these fishermen is that they love and respect the ocean.
For the most part, people who work on the ocean or live nearby have a great respect, love, and yes fear of the ocean. Oceans cover 71 percent of the earth’s surface and contain 97 percent of the earth’s water. Less than 1 percent of the water is fresh and 2–3 percent is contained in glaciers and ice caps. The oceans make up 99 percent of the living space on the planet.
When I walk along the beach, you’ll see me picking up plastic bottles and other debris that has washed ashore. You will also hear me screaming into the wind “F’ing slobs!” The people who live here or who make their living from the sea have too much love for it to dirty it. Most of the junk on the beach is not left by the people who live in the area, it floats in from the sea. In many cases, it’s junk that’s thrown overboard from cruise ships. There is a place known as “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” and it extends over an indeterminate area, with estimates ranging widely depending on the degree of plastic concentration used to define the affected area.
It makes me crazy that some people do not see or care how dependent we all are on the ocean. And if we keep treating it the way we do and if we all don’t start loving it, it will no longer love us and it will die and we will follow close behind.
In the podcast, there will be the answer to the trivia question, some more about the sea, and as always some rock and roll music and news. I hope you’ll join me on the shores of Rambling Harbor.