Cesium-137

Marie and Pierre Curie

And so it has arrived.  Without much fanfare, a news reporter stood on the beach in the early morning darkness, staring out to sea, as if expecting to see Cesium-137 washing ashore.  Instead, she smiled, blinking, and went on discussing something she knew nothing about, while standing next to the sea.

It took a week, but now we can conveniently add a new season to the mix here in Los Angeles.  Soon enough fire season will be upon us before we know it, but until that time, fallout will do.  Now of course, the levels are tiny.  We are talking so diluted from mixing with the atmosphere over such a wide area, that effects on human health are infinitesimal.  The psychological effect though, is huge though.

A scientist pointed out yesterday, that over all the decades in which we allowed for nuclear weapon testing, this was a common occurrence, these waves of Cesium-137 along with a whole slew of other toxic jewels being dropped across the countryside.  No one paid any attention though, except for various watchdog groups that were monitoring for these explosions.  The population as a whole went about their business, living daily life completely oblivious to what was going on about them.  Except that there was one little difference,  and it can be found in those treasured baby teeth that the tooth fairy shuttles away for pennies on the dollar.  Encased in the enamel of both baby and adult teeth are the by products of these above ground tests and accidents.

So here we are again, tiny jewels of atoms that can only be created through fission, waft across oceans, carried on wind currents from a distant land.  A new generation of children will carry remnants of this accident with them for a few years, until once again the tooth fairy will shuttle off their teeth for safe keeping.  Like in years past, we will accept that this is just part of the risk that comes from utilizing these elements for the betterment of humanity.  We can fear them, or come to make peace with the fact that there is a cost that comes with each action we take.

I do feel bad for the reporter though, standing on the beach in the early morning hours, staring out to sea.  If she had the right set of goggles (that could detect tiny amounts of radioactivity), she would have seen little jewels of radiation dispersed like stars above her.  Instead, all she could see and hear were waves crashing on the sandy shore.

wbh

 

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About Sarah Seager

I am an artist that works and lives in the wilds of Los Angeles.
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