… so utterly helpless in our hands

For those of you reading Elizabeth’s essays, you will read the following this week:

Last week, driving home from here, I rescued a turtle as it tried to cross the road. When I pulled over to get out of my car, the bridge in the distance seemed to give me a conspiratorial wink. It was just an ordinary eastern box turtle, helmet-shaped, splotched brown and yellow. I picked him up, he disappeared into his shell, but as I neared the grassy roadside, his head and legs poked out and he began a furious mid-air crawl. His eyes were fiercely intent on escape, and my heart melted with pity for the creature, so determined to fix his own destiny, so utterly helpless in my hands.

I was so taken by that last sentence, particularly in light of our latest destructive “accident” with oil drilling on the ocean floor. This one is so bad most of us can’t conceive of its scope, can’t tolerate the frightfulness of the consequences, can’t begin to accept our own part in the disaster.

This volcano of oil erupting under the sea promises to be one of the worst environmental catastrophes in human history.  It may even be the worst—literally billions of lifeforms will die.

My heart melts with pity at all those creatures — so determined to fix their own destiny, so utterly helpless in our hands.

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