The estuary did not lie. By the time I arrived in early 1964 It had been adapting to European occupation for over thirty decades. There was not a single descendent of humans left alive anywhere east of Oaklahoma who had known what the estuary had been before disease and Europeans arrived. I never met one, ever.
The estuary was a hard place to live, and it was unlikely that people lived there year round before the Europeans finally figured out how to destroy huge portions of it by bringing in massive loads of fill to place on top of dredged spoils. The winters were deadly and the mosquitos in the summer were almost as bad. The lots did not get built quickly.
West Park was the poor end of a rich town...Reality was inescapable there. The wind blew and the storms beat the hell out of the place, which flooded at least twice a year.
Nature was the star performer in this show. Men were battered, even killed by underestimating her potential for violent mood swings. I had a front row seat, from which I imagined how the estuary might have been, who might have lived there, and how they had survived the nature of this place.
Up river, and on the other side of the bay, the empire was busily reshaping the planet with the same lack of understanding that had made it unsafe to eat anything that was left in my estuary.
Nobody told us this for a few years...but eventually enough people got sick for the state to put up signs warning against harvesting. The estuary was condemned.
After science proved both the value of wetlands and the cause of their destruction, sanitary sewers and enforced dumping regulations allowed some recovery, but at the same time the empire was filling wet lands and dumping toxic waste all over the world...any place they could get away with it.
Nature is reality. I was lucky to have this truth branded into the core of my existence. No cultural conditioning would ever move me far from this truth for long. Reality is infinite. Big Bang...or not. The tide is coming in.
I’m not driving.