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What You Don’t See

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."   Henry David Thoreau


Paul, Stephanie and I walked and knocked and talked with hundreds of you. And before we left your doorstep, we left you with the postcards.

The 2 images tell our plight. The first looks like modern art, the colors bright and bold and scattered across the blocks of color are what we know are chat piles, many of them. The image shows chat piles in the flood plain after 40 years of EPA’s superfund designation, leaching their metals into those high waters that dissolve and take those particles, much like the sugar you add to your cup of tea, those extra particles, tiny bits of metals fresh off the periodic table and send them down our Tar Creek, where they can come to lay on your front yard or back yard, all across the porch steps, into your homes and down on the grass that you mow all summer.

The second hits home. And when you held it right side up, our Main Street and our Tar Creek run north and south, almost side-by-side and with the colors of the floodplains leave Miami looking a whole lot like the Florida peninsula, while lying beneath the light blue are the sorrows and losses the homeowners and their children and the business owners and their dreams and livelihoods gone to high water over the many floods we have experienced.

You did what we asked. You said a thing and shared a thought, a belief, a hope and you slid those postcards into the mail and off they went. We saw them later and you can too on the FERC website, yours with so many others.

But no where in the record does the public see the other side of your card. It took a little woman from Topeka who had come to know many of us over the last couple of decades, and the last few floods to flag what was missing in the official federal record.

The images on the other side, that had gotten your attention and brought you to action had not been entered into the record.  So, I remedied that and stapled one of each on a single sheet of paper and described in detail what is on each. Then to be sure FERC and the who all who read these entries, I enlarged each and sent a full page explaining in more detail what can be seen.

What we didn’t ask and you therefore did not provide to FERC was a big dot on your very own property, showing where your interest is in a glance. Its ok, we have more cards if you might choose to send another dotted with where you live now or where you played in the park that floods or the road you can’t pass to get to school or church when high water events occur.

What FERC can’t see is what we fail to show or tell them. I truly promise you, they, nor you, can read minds. They may imagine your frustration, your expansive losses, the heirloom lace or grandchildren’s photos. But you could ensure they know. You can put it on the record.

We are winning, but FERC can do more for us. They can write the rules that will protect us. What does it cost to give them another nudge?

What we don’t see are the faces of the readers of our messages. We believe they are moved. Because the usual correspondence they receive are stuffy letters from lawyers. You have spiced up their lives and written stories they must go home at night and recite to their spouses.

Let’s keep it up. Postcards, valentines. Take your pick.

Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim


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