October 5, 2020
A short story by Carol Lee
When your message in a bottle washes up on a beach after days upon the rolling seas, you want it to land on the sparkling and pristine sands of Grecian paradise. You don’t want it to arrive amidst the detritus of crumpled soda cans, soiled plastic bags, gnarled plastic rings, and other refuse and ocean rejects that populate so many beaches.
The more miserable was the case for Jutta and Karsten Stienemann whose bottled message announcing their twenty happy days of marriage (and including a cordial invitation for a friendly drink) found its way onto the seashore of Eden beach at Paleo Faliro near Athens.
The bottle did not wash up on the beach as the only man-made item on a very natural beach; it was not picked up by a beach-going passerby who serendipitously ran across the bottle. It was recovered by a decidedly unromantic party – a beach litter cleanup crew.
The Stienemann’s message wasn’t ignored – so why are the others so often overlooked? Why do so many of us dismiss the messages telling us to stop littering, to pick up our rubbish, to take care of the aquatic places we covet?
Every single one of the pieces of trash that the beach clean-up team collected is as poignant as the words thrown in a lovers’ quarrel. They are telling us to keep the beach clean – but some of us are not listening.
Keeping our shores clean is a commitment, very much so like the one that Jutta and Karsten made but twenty days before they set their bottled message free. It takes constant maintenance, persisting consideration and a marked promise – a pledge to preserve our beaches.
Too many of us are ignoring everything unpleasant and turning our gaze from the ocean’s constant cries for help. And like grievances left unrecognized and unsaid, the words will brew and boil within until the rage spills over and the conclusion is catastrophic. There needs to be a gentle release of the pressure, a steady amelioration of the problem. If not, there will be divorce and there will be ravaged beaches.
We are plainly not being faithful right now because the scene is less than desirable. Clean beaches are romantic; litter-strewn beaches – decidedly not. So let us all make this relationship a durable and sustainable one by swearing to care!
Make a promise with MEDASSET to keep the Grecian beaches blissfully litter-free so that we, and so many other creatures, may continue to enjoy them.