Wednesday, August 26, 2009

things are not always what they seem

this is the view from the park down the street from my house, it's right on the river:

this morning we went early and there was not much of a breeze to speak of and very few boats out. with the exception of the brownish tinge to the water, the river looked so peaceful, so serene. the soft lapping sounds made me think of the rhythm of an old rocking chair, subtle yet constant.

the water rippled just enough to produce a broken reflection of the sun.

there were even some guys fishing and crabbing and enjoying the view.

i hope their view included this:

can you read that part there at the top? no? ok, i'll write out the boldface part:

women of childbearing age and children under 15 should not consume any fish from the hudson river.

now, i've lived by this river my whole life and it pretty much goes without saying that you never, ever even want to swim in that water, let alone eat anything that comes out of it. but for those of you who might be assuming that rivers are freshwater and it can't be that bad, i offer the following:

-for decades new york city garbage has been barged and dumped upriver because of the lack of landfill space in the five boroughs.
-indian point is a nuclear power plant that is situated right on the banks of the river
and lastly,
-for over thirty years general electric dumped over a million pounds of pcbs into the river from it's plants. those pcbs are still found in the sediment and algae.

growing up with this knowledge has made me wary of fish and shellfish in general. i can fillet a three foot striped bass in about ten minutes, which is not fast and not slow, but you will rarely find me eating the day's catch.

i could never seem to get my mind past the part about thinking where the fish came from, what it ate to survive, and what kind of water filled its gills. paranoid much? maybe, but it's too late for me to change now. i will forever be leery of neptune's minions.

i should have been born by the ocean.


Organic Meatbag said...

I trust Neptune and yes, his minions too! I go swimming with them all the time, and somehow, it always turns into skinny dipping! the national enquirer even got some pictures!

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Of the three things you listed, the nuclear power plant is probably the least of your concerns.

Also of note is the run off from the graphite mines further up the river.

erin said...

This is the way it used to be around here, but they totally worked their asses off and now the allegheny river (for ex., there are many many large rivers around here) is a vacation spot. We went on a bike ride along it the other day and there were so many people swimming and fishing. We even saw a couple snorkeling in a deeper area!

Proud Maisie said...

No matter, it sure looks beautiful. I could have done with some of that after being couped up inside all day.

Sally-Sal said...

I'd like to see people 'crabbing'.

Anonymous said...

I think that stuff too. Plus the ocean's no better. Think of all the pollution we dump in it daily. And all the dead, decaying creatures. And the Earth's crust spewing out poisonous gases.

It's a wonder we eat at all! :)

Lana said...

meaty- i hope you don't get any weird rashes...

mjenks- true that. at least if it smelled nice like the ocean i might be tricked into forgetting about all that crap.

erin- i can only hope! but i'm pretty much resigned to going to lakes for such water sport fun.

maisie- the fresh air is amazing. when the river is filled with boats i could sit there for hours watching. probably a nice spot for painting :)

sally- hmmm, so you want to check out the hairy, old, shirtless men that drop their traps in the water? come on over anytime, i bet they'd love to meet you :)

veg- i had to hold myself back from getting carried away with the beef and poultry industries. thank god i live on coffee. (and marble cake if you ever have any extra)

mylittlebecky said...

dude when i think about fish, i think about mercury. then i think about fish with seven eyes that aren't suppose to have seven eyes then i think about other things i eat then i just end up eating a noodle bowl. which is in plastic and then i start thinking about plastic. times are hard.

in other news, my mother grew up on the hudson. who knew?

'Cuz I Felt Like It! said...

Same thing here with the Chattahoochee River. People blow.

Lana said...

becky- yes!! except that i always picture only three eyes instead of seven. glad i'm not the only one :)

cuz- that sucks, i hope you have some other nearby spots for all your water fun.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I saw Frankenfish on the Sci Fy channel so it only confirms my belief that NOTHING that comes from water is any good whatsoever. Fish are just so smug anyways and smugness is not an attractive quality. Wait till we start talking about the octopus.