There is a boardwalk behind the Cannery Row hotels in Monterey. And one particular section, oh, about 100 m, is just the right length for your aging quadriplegic to go strolling. This is what I do with every visit. In between gawking at the aquarium’s seahorses and otters, I grab the wooden rail and hit the neuromuscular road. It takes about 20, maybe 25, minutes to do the complete walk. After which I am in the pink of cardiovascular health and ready to return for a look at the mangrove forests of Baja California, not to mention the octopi.

However, put this all together and you have one quadriplegic exercising not just his quadriceps, but his amateur oceanography. Which means asking questions. What is that yellow foam out there on Monterey Bay? It’s foamy, and it’s got that suspiciously petroleum cast. Neither flotsam nor jetsam, the stuff must be pollution. And what of it? This wouldn’t be the first time a passing freighter has jettisoned its bilge. Except that this is a marine sanctuary, a bay that is a national park. Cormorants go diving here. Harbor seals stare at you. And the otters? They are too busy smashing abalone with rocks to know that they are endangered.

And being endangered isn’t exactly helped by a nice little froth of tanker pollution. Not that I can be certain about this. Oceans have been known to get yellow and frothy without pollution. It doesn’t matter. Mother Earth is threatened. And this includes her offspring. No, it only involves her offspring. The Mother will shrug off the attack of the nature-hating vulgarians in the blink of a geological eyelid. Problem is, her children really don’t care if their course is suicidal. They like movement.

I do too. That’s why I’m schlepping along the boardwalk, looking down at the Pacific Ocean crashing its waves at high tide. And trying not to think too much about the news. Luckily my spouse doesn’t see the news as all bad. We are all going to have to be conscious. Get involved. Make a statement. Which may be true, but in the end much will get destroyed. Think of the Cultural Revolution, although that occurred in a fast-growing country on the upswing.

Normally I sleep very well in Monterey. Such are the effects of the pounding surf nearby. But this time was different. I came home a bit more tired than usual. And I worried about the yellow foam.

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