Julie Buffaloe-Yoder's "Washing Away"

Read poet Julie Buffaloe-Yoder’s latest poem on her blog, The Buffaloe Pen. Although she wrote the poem a year ago, the spirit and content of the piece relate to the suffering of the working people on the Gulf. She has also included her daughter’s beautiful woodcut print that inspired her original piece. Of all the stories and essays I’ve read about the oil spill, Julie’s poem and related thoughts have moved me the most.

Here’s a recent article from PBS, “Dispatch from Louisiana: Fishermen Voice Their Frustrations on Oil Spill” by Tom Beardon. The photo is by AFP/Getty. I’ve heard on CNN that BP has offered checks of $5,000.00 to people who’ve already lost $30,000.00. Of course BP needs to pony up the cash. I hope the fat cats at BP show some compassion for these working people. The best I can do for the fishermen is hope.

5 thoughts on “Julie Buffaloe-Yoder's "Washing Away"

  1. Julie says:

    Thank you so much, Christine. I really appreciate your good words and wonderfully kind heart. The article is right. Fishermen have to spend a lot of money just to prepare their boats for the season…permitting, upkeep, etc.

    I’m talking small and even one-person boats. Most fishermen I know live on much less than thirty thousand a year. They live in remote regions. Often, they have to take out loans at the beginning of the season.

    Hurricanes don’t even hurt them this badly, because they can financially prepare for hurricanes. And hurricanes usually come later in the season, after they have at least broken even. This spill happened at the beginning of their season. So not only are they without a means for income, they are deep in a financial hole already. I hope BP does what is right.

    Fishing families are such beautiful people who are often maligned in the media. It’s not about money for them. It’s a way of life, a culture. The ones I know have roots that go back to the Native Americans. They love nature, and they realize they’re part of the land. They are the most environmentally conscious people I’ve ever met. Most people don’t know that the inventor of the Turtle Excluder Device (TED) for nets was a commercial fisherman. Rotating of “crops” and areas was practiced for centuries, before the government stepped in and stopped it with permitting. Culling (putting small fish or bycatch back in the water) is one of the first jobs a child in a fishing family is taught to do.

    They take care of the land and the water, because it is their lives.

    Excuse me for going on and on. As you can tell, the subject is near and dear to my heart. Thank you again, Christine! xxooxx


  2. christine says:

    Julie, I love your effusions and passions. It’s important for people to know that a way of life is being destroyed, possibly never to return. So many of us, myself included, have forgotten how to live off the land. It’s as though we are witnessing an extinction, and it’s very painful. The women are in tears from anger and frustration, and the men are numb, at least from what I’ve seen on teevee. And now they’re at the mercy of corporations, a fate I’m sure none of them looked for.


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