CONTINUE READING FROM NEWSLETTER
……… “I do not perceive my own best interests.”
She made her way to stand next to the two arguing men. “Bobby, don’t you remember the lesson for today? ‘I do not perceive my own best interest’.”
Bobby wasn’t ready to concede defeat yet. “What does that have to do with the price of eggs?”
Priscilla laughed. “The higher view, from what is important for the planet, says it has a lot to do with the price of eggs. If we eat all the chickens, there won’t be any eggs. Even if you were starving, it’s better to leave some of those old biddies scratching around the coop so you can eat their eggs… for years to come. Not just today.”
Bobby started to repeat himself, “But the commercial fishermen”
She interrupted, “Just because someone shoots another person out of anger, does that mean you should shoot me when we argue? You’re pretty mad at Gaff. Should you shoot him?”
Bobby looked at the sand, abashed.
She continued, “I agree with Gaff, that each of us has a responsibility to care for this planet.”
His voice was small, “So we are kind to the planet so that the guys out in the boats can fill their nets.” It wasn’t so much a question as a statement. “We’re only individuals, single fishermen that dot the beaches along the coast. What can we do in that grand scheme of things you talk about?” His words were punctuated by the calls of the gulls and the crash of waves on sand.
Gaff smiled, “We are a nation of individuals, a world of individuals, and each of us has a responsibility to all the rest. I can only decide for me. You have to decide for you. And the more of us doing what we can to protect the planet, the more powerful we become. Individuals become a group become a crowd become a mob. Eventually those guys in the boats out there will get the idea and be more careful, too.”
A voice from behind them added, “I heard the government is thinking about shutting down the shrimping lane to let the population recover a bit.”
Another voice added, “About time, I’d say.”
Then another, colored with bravado, “You know, we can shrimp in the mouth of the Cape Fear River. But just individuals in their own boats. Near the estuary.”
Priscilla laughed, “Why would you do that? So you can deplete the supply faster? Net younger and younger shrimp so that they don’t have time to grow to a decent size and repopulate the lanes?”
She was answered by a soft voice, “Hadn’t thought of that. I was just thinking about how tasty they’d be.”
Priscilla’s voice softened. “Is it wise to eat the chickens or can you wait to eat their eggs for years to come?”
Gaff smiled at this exchange. “So that book of yours agrees with the idea of thinking beyond what you would like to see happen in this moment to what this moment might mean in the grand plan.”
Priscilla grinned. “We’re going through the lessons again this year, one by one. It’s like I’ve never seen some of them. So far, we’ve just been talking about the idea that our interpretation of a situation isn’t always accurate. It’s often based on fears or a belief in scarcity.” She waved in the direction of the ocean. “The book would say that our interpretation of that water over there may not be right. It might be something we’ve come up with to suit our own needs, our own view of the world.”
Bobby laughed, “Maybe Gaff’s way of looking at that water is the best: Mother Water, an expression of the Source. A connection with God.”
Priscilla looked toward the blue-green water. Her voice was soft. “Not just a source of food for the body, but a source of food for the soul, for the spirit.”
Gaff grinned, but his voice was almost reverent. “She’s there to help and guide us by example. Her creatures teach us so many lessons. She is a constant source of nurturing. The sea of unlimited potential.” His words drifted as he watched the swells far out on the ocean.
Bobby chuckled without humor. “OK, OK…the problems start when we humans decide that we know better and act stupid and selfish. But she really knows how to slap us in the face… hurricanes and all.” He, too, sought a connection with the water, the great source of life. Fluffy clouds skittered across the blue sky making a background for the birds diving for their dinner. Waves crashed on the sand, mixing with the calls of the hungry birds. A beautiful tableau to entertain and instruct.
Had Bobby gotten a glimpse of the whole rather than being so distracted by his little slice of that whole? Some old fishermen stayed behind after the others drifted on down the beach. They shook Bobby’s hand and congratulated him, both on the BIG ONE he almost caught and his wisdom for letting her go so she could do her part in adding to the minnow population. More for the hook next year.