Right after the Chernobyl incident, my family told me not to go stand out in the rain - that I should maybe wait a few years for the radiation to die down. Chernobyl became part of the background of the childhood of Gen X. I remember how many kids in those times did their annual science fair projects on acid rain. I wondered how we were supposed to grow up in a world where pollution and toxicity were all around us, I remember the panic and anxiety.
While Chernobyl is a long way from New Mexico, it was only a matter of time before the fear permeated all of us. When the Fukushima incident happened, it was only a matter of time before the disaster debris came floating across the ocean to the Pacific Northwest. Everything from Japanese household items to a motorcycle with Japanese plates has washed ashore.
This week I was out at the Oregon coast. Looking out at the water kept making me think about how we have to learn from our mistakes. That is a reason why we study history when we are growing up. We have to learn from our collective mistakes. Just as important, we have to learn from our individual mistakes. Of mistakes I have made, I can often trace them back to my selfishness. If we are going to move forward in any way, we cannot ignore what has happened and what has brought us to where we are. We have to learn from the past. I have to hope that when our time is over as a generation, that we will have left behind more light than shadow.
"At the edge of the ocean we can start over again." -Ivy