Last summer, I was walking down the beach toward sunset with my daughter and granddaughter. It was turtle season on New Smyrna Beach, and we were taking note of the roped off nest sites that one day soon would release a flood of baby turtles. Walking between these sites, my then four-year-old granddaughter, Adelyn, found great delight pointing out a wide variation of shells that had washed up on the beach.
Joining Adelyn in her hunt for shells, I happened to see a green plastic soda bottle that had washed up into the weeds. Inwardly frustrated by whomever was too lazy to find a recycling bin, I walked over to the bottle with the intention of doing just that. As I picked up the discarded environmental hazard, I was shocked to see a variety of shell life that had attached itself to the bottom, sides, and lip of the green plastic.
I called over my daughter and granddaughter, who joined me in my fascination at how these living creatures had survived by securing themselves on the bottle. Because the bottle was clear, we were able to point out to Adelyn the fine tendrils with which these living creatures fastened themselves to the plastic. It was all rather fascinating.
And then I realized a dilemma . . . what to do with the bottle. I mean, there are two things that came to mind of which I am aware when walking the beach:
1. If you come across any trash, take it with you to dispose of it properly.
2. Always leave marine life on the beach where you found it because each living creature has an important part in the environment.
Well then. What to do? As far as I could tell, there really wasn’t a good answer.
Life isn’t always black and white. Sometimes we are required to make decisions that might be considered the lesser of two evils or in consideration of the greater good. But many times, a choice that brings some sense of satisfaction or confident “rightness” eludes us. These situations can be mildly frustrating (like my beach bottle illustration) or downright heart-wrenching and life-altering (like choosing to end a pregnancy for any number of reasons).
I made my decision about the bottle and would hope that I not be judged by those who might have chosen otherwise. On a greater scale, in a larger context, in much weightier matters, I hope I am a person who would offer the same consideration to others in their difficult decisions.