A few days ago I set out to go to Ballast Point. It was another early morning and the skies were clear so I settled into a real low-key decision, grabbed a coffee, packed the camera in the car and set off.
It was one of those moments where you have no pressure and no real expectations.
… where you are just heading off to do something enjoyable, not necessarily aiming to get anything from it.
I was probably doing ten below my normal speed as I crossed Tampa on the Crosstown and in that cruising mode I noticed that the riverwalk lights were on (it’s been a hit and miss with them lately) as I passed over the Hillsborough river.
Most unlike me, I just took an immediate exit. I don’t even know which exit I took and I made no conscious decision to do so. Just all of a sudden I hit a quick stop sign off the exit ramp and realized I didn’t even know where I was.
I mean, yes, I knew I was downtown. But what road and which direction … well, that was anyone’s guess. And of course without the sun to guide me, I relied on intuition rather than a legitimate sense of direction.
A few turns later and I found myself driving down beside a TV channel building and it came to a dead end in a roundabout that gently brushed the river bank.
So, I just jumped out of the car, grabbed the camera and climbed over a small railing, I found myself presented with a view of downtown that I hadn’t seen before and I was thrilled.
I lead off the little collection at the end of this blog with two images taken from that view and I hope you like them.
No one bothered me, no one made an issue of a car just parked on the roundabout and no one seemed upset that I was climbing over things and possibly being where I was not supposed to be.
Done, I climbed back in the car and found my way back onto the Crosstown and continued to Ballast Point.
It was gorgeous down there. But there were a group of fishing folk at the end of the pier and they had clearly been there all night. One or two seemed drunk, they seemed very disheveled and they had pretty much trashed the place.
You can’t really tell in the pics, although there is a fish head left in one and a tail … just lying on the railing as if they belonged there.
And it annoyed the fuck out of me. I don’t really have time for fun fishing anyway. I am very against anything that humans consider a sport where some innocent creature has to lose their life.
But for god sake … if you are going to savage some creature at least do them the respect of returning their head and tail to the water. I don’t expect you to be empathetic to the needless pain you have caused, but I do expect you to show a little respect for the creatures that you mutilate.
Is that too much to ask?
Someone commented on my camera and asked a question but I pretended not to hear and just walked back to the car.
So I seethed a bit on the way home and mulled over the whole lack of respect that certain people have and how accepted it has become in certain circles to just go through life as if life owes you something.
Empathy, humility, appreciation … traits that our parents generation displayed in abundance have slowly evaporated over the years and been replaced with entitlement, bravado, and selfishness.
Traits that used to lead to a person being ostracized for their display can now even get you elected president, for god sake. And I am not trying to take a pot-shot at the dotard, I am trying to make a statement how so many of what used to be negative qualities are now actually lauded.
But I don’t really want to talk about all these things. I know I have touched on many of them already. I just wanted to talk about the one … respect.
Respect requires a level of modesty and appreciation in order for it to be legitimate. A braggart or someone who takes everything as their due will never show real respect.
I mean, you can tip your hat, bow your head and call someone sir as much as you want. But that isn’t real respect. And frankly I am not even concerned about whether humans respect other humans any more. It’s questionable how many humans deserve it anyway.
No, I am talking about respect for the natural world. It requires us to take off our superiority-jacket and stand there among the creatures of the planet and be humbled among them.
It requires us to see a little beetle crossing your path and even helping him on his way. it requires us to pause and take in the majesty of a hawk as he soars on high. It requires us to treat all creatures with dignity and understand that regardless of what idiocy we might have been taught, creatures are not there for our disposal. Nor use. Nor entertainment.
Opposable thumbs don’t make us masters of the universe. It’s more likely that they evolved in that direction from incessant masturbation, than any other kind of mastery.
Respecting our planet requires us to accept our part in it. Not to imagine we can master it. Even a modicum of respect would have us on a road to preserving and not destroying it.
But humanity just doesn’t care. Some people do. But humanity doesn’t.
Killing off the planet that we live on tells you that humanity doesn’t even respect our very own children and the future we are making for them.
… just a thought.