Thursday, July 3, 2008

a gyre of plastic swirling in my mind

July 1st was Canada's day of confederation, so some folks celebrate it as Canada Day. Other folks see it as the legalizing of their subjugation and the loss of their traditional lands. In any event, it is a statutory holiday, so most of us get a day off work. The maple leaf in our nation's flag pre-existed its insertion into symbol-making to imaginatively create a cohesive nation in the minds of its diverse settlers.

Indeed, the red-and-white flag is a fairly new invention, as prior to 1965 Canadians swore allegiance to the Red Ensign.

I took the photos of the Canadian flags waving in the waters of Lake Superior after crossing past this border, that delineates those who belong and those who do not belong on the pier. According to this yellow sign, I do not belong here.

Some of the reflections of the masts looked a bit like lightening strikes.

This sailboat has a yellow cheetah on its prow.

My sister and I saw a pair of mallards paddling fast

and a cormorant surfaced for a moment.

A flock of Canada geese paddled in the pond by the Memorial to the fallen.

Meanwhile, over by Prince Arthur's Landing Marina, a mom and dad are on watch as their brood huddles.

A Canada loon floated by. We also saw a red-breasted merganser with 9 ducklings floating like a ball of bobbing fuzz behind her.

Daisies surprised us by the old Tugboat bay.

And we almost stepped on a wild blue flag waving its face to the sunshine.

This little mite of a bird scolded us as we picked our way through the tangle of wildflowers, weeds, and stones to the old dock.

At the end of the old Tugboat bay dock, I saw a plastic pop can ring lying on the rocks.

It wasn't the only plastic junk I saw lying about this bird sanctuary. So, I began collecting it as into the back of my mind flew an image of the Pacific Ocean plastic garbage gyre. I've never personally seen it, but I am haunted by imagining it. It is a massive Texas-sized swirling mess of plastic garbage photo-degrading into smaller pellets that collectively weigh about 3 million tons (2003 figures). This plastic sea is in a non-stop spiral in the Pacific Ocean. It is a hazard to birds and other living things. If you click here, you can see the remains of an albatross carcass, as well as read more about this monster we have created. The dead albatross's gut is packed with all manners of plastic junk that it has ingested, like the plastic bottle caps I scooped up and put in the plastic grocery bag I found washing up on the rocks by the old Tugboat bay.

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