If Wishes were Fishes


If wishes were fishes, we’d all be eating sushi right now. I wish we could eat fish. When I moved to Los Angeles in 1974, Southern California was as much like paradise as anywhere I could imagine. Fewer people, fewer cars, fewer homeless than there are now. Beautiful, happy people everywhere. Gazing over Santa Monica Bay from the Pacific Palisades, I thought of no reason on earth to return to the Midwest.

It didn’t take long for the first, tiny fissure to find its way into the bedrock of bliss that the Golden State symbolized. Signs on the Santa Monica Pier warned me not to eat fish caught in the bay because they were laced with toxic chemicals. I remember feeling a deep twinge of shock to think Paradise was poisoned. Seems a chemical company in Torrance had been dumping PCBs and DDT into the bay since 1947 creating a toxic dead zone and loading the game fish with carcinogens. What they did to my little corner of Eden was a microcosm of what we’ve done to the oceans.

I wish we could eat fish. Of course we can still eat fish. But is it a wise choice? It’s safe to say that every fish available commercially has some level of chemical contamination. The list is daunting. Environmental groups, government agencies and scientists give clear warning. Seafood to avoid includes Atlantic halibut, king mackerel, oysters (Gulf Coast), pike, sea bass, shark, swordfish, snapper, tuna (steaks and canned albacore). Something to remember is that the lower you go on the food chain, the lower the level of accumulated toxins. Ergo, sardines, anchovies and smaller fish like them are among the cleanest. Check out the list at the Environmental Working Group website. The last time I felt entirely comfortable with the fish I ate was when I caught it at a lake near Big Piney in Wyoming. It was at such elevation it was snow-fed with no streams entering it and no pollution aside from rain. I wish I had some of that trout.

I wish we couldn’t walk on water. Want to be like Jesus and walk on water? It’s pretty near possible in the part of the ocean known as the Pacific Gyre. That’s a swirling mass of human waste that has been caught in a whirlpool in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The waste is so thick you can nearly walk on it.

The Pacific Ocean garbage vortex is locked in a whirlpool about the size of Texas. Just like everything swirls together in your toilet when you flush it, human generated trash from toothbrushes to tires, lawn chairs to luggage racks and millions of tons of plastic swirls together in a confluence of ocean currents all around the world. The only difference is that it doesn’t disappear down the plumbing like it does in your toilet. The largest of these gyres is in the northern part of the Pacific. The pile of trash is so huge, so dense, that there appear to be vast areas where boats can barely navigate and observers could almost walk on top of the trash. Words fail to adequately describe. Only a video can do so hit youtube and do a search.

I wish sabers were stored in soundproof scabbards. That way there would be much less rattling. Right now, observers suspect Western allies are ramping up to attack another Middle East nation. This time it’s Iran. Less than ten years ago, sabers were rattling against Iraq. Then, a number of houses on our block, about eight in all, displayed yard signs simply saying “No War.” Nearly every night, someone, obviously an advocate of war, stole or ripped up the yard signs. Nearly every day, the neighbors would repair or replace them. This went on for a couple months until the bombs rained down on Baghdad.

I remember reflecting on how ironically appropriate that action was: Someone who was in favor of violence and destruction as a first choice on a global scale resorted to the exact same philosophy of confrontation against fellow Americans who were expressing their Constitutional rights. Of greater irony is that now, after a military action that will end up costing our country trillions of dollars and thousands of lives, a Wall Street Journal poll finds that 74 percent of those asked say the Iraq action wasn’t worth it. It doesn’t matter to be right now. It matters to have been right ten years ago. Quiet sabers is a fine wish this holiday season.

I wish everyone listened to the Eagles more. More exactly, listen to the 1974 song, “I Wish You Peace.” When I worked as a recording engineer on the One of These Nights album, “I Wish You Peace” was considered by the core band members as a weak track and a concession to member Bernie Leadon, who co-wrote it with his then-girlfriend Patti Davis. Davis, of course, is Ronald Reagan’s daughter. He was governor of the Golden State at the time and every visit from her to the studio was harbingered by advance notice from the front desk to clear out all the illicit substances from the premises. That kind of inconvenience stopped a ‘70s recording session in its tracks. It also reportedly helped prompt Bernie’s exit from the band. But the song is a beauty. Maybe it’s matured with age. Who knows if Don Henley thinks better of it now? And the sentiment is one we could all appreciate in 2012.

 “I wish those days could come back once more.” I’ll leave that wish to Stevie Wonder who penned the lyrics in his hit song “I Wish,” from the “Songs in the Key of Life” album of 1976. Waxing nostalgic is probably typical of this time of year but there is nothing wrong with that. As long as we can still keep the acceptance of alternative medicine and therapies that has blossomed since those days.

Be well.

Heartland Healing examines various alternative forms of healing. It is provided as a source of information, not as medical advice, and it is not an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or The Reader. Access past columns at heartlandhealing.com.

 


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