This article was written by a fellow graduate of my alma mater, Hendrix College, and contains pictures taken by a Hendrix professor. Hendrix is 10.1 miles from the spill.
“I just feel so helpless. We had a forum last week at school and people talked about what is going on but it’s not like I can go and clean it up. I feel like we just sit around the cafeteria and talk about it and how helpless we feel. I feel so helpless.”
She is one of my best friends, the kind of person who I’d fly across the country for in a flash. She is a senior at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. She is about to graduate with a degree in biology and environmental science, she has a 4.0, and she lives 10.1 miles away from the Exxon Pegasus tar sands spill.
“I know honey,” I say. “I guess it is just important to make sure you stay informed about what is happening. It’s really close to you, lady.”
Over the phone 1,800 miles away I don’t say what I’m thinking. I don’t want to scare her. What I don’t say to her is,Be careful. You are really close to all this.What I don’t say is that this spill could change the course of her life and the lives of thousands of other people living in the area. I don’t say this because as a culture we don’t say these things. Instead we say, I know honey. We say it will be OK. We repeat this over and over; it is the wish we hope with repetition will become true.