The Big One

by George Pletnikoff

August 30, 2007

Oh my gosh. Of all the things I have seen, experienced and witnessed, never before have I seen such awefulness. I saw Amchitka. I saw the future. I saw death shrouded in attempted beauty. I saw the big one. Amchitka.

I was born here, as you know. I grew up here. I learned here. I was nurtured in honesty and in truth by my environment, Mom and Dad. I trusted without doubt in goodness. Men; people, I was told, are fundamentally good. Given a choice they will always do the right thing. Not. I witnessed that first hand. Amchitka.

We are surrounded in the sounds of life, water, silence and beauty. When hungry, we eat. When thirsty, we drink. When tired, we rest. When alone, we seek our loved ones. But, here, in Amchitka, none of those things are possible. You cannot hardly hear life, much less see it. One cannot drink water, although there. (At dinner at home with my family, I often drink a nice clear cold glass of water and ask: "I wonder who invented water?" To which my family always responds: "No one." I continue: "Then where did it come from?" And they respond. "God.") And in Amchitka one is alone. Alone in life, thoughts, dreams, hopes. For how could one feel and think otherwise? Amchitka. 

The big one is not the bomb. For sure, the bomb is, was and forever will be big. The big one is not the Island, for Islands of various sizes we shall always have. The big one is not the place or even humanity or mankind gone awry. The big one is Amchitka the total lie!

Oh we say, our government says. It is a National Wildlife Refuge. Look at thoses words. National. Belongs to the Nation of peace and pursuit of whatever. Wildlife. For the purposes of or the use by wild life! And Refuge. A place to get away, solice, rest, protection. And in my humble opinion,  Amchitka is none of those. It is not a Refuge. There is nothing there taking reguge from anything. We created a wildlife refuge and even the animals don’t want to go there. Not even a self respecting jellyfish to be found. We tried to fool them and instead are fooling ourselves. They know. Amchitka.

Interestingly, we saw and experienced. Then we planted a cross. For peace and thanksgiving. Giving back to the Creator something which we wanted to give back. But, we gave back the place most destroyed and dirtied. We gave back to the Creator a gift we received and trashed. We gave back, of all places, Amchitka. And? Somehow I believe He recieved it from us. He loved that we made a decision to give something back, even though it is forever trashed! And I know the only thing alive and living in Amchitka is a cross. Amchitka.

The big one is, shrouded in beauty but covered in death. Pretend Wildlife Refuge. And how can we pray life back? Once destroyed, how can we will life’s return? We may very well have seen the future of the entire Bering Sea, our home, our blood, unless we act and act decisively. Once this place is destroyed, the National Wildlife Gift, we may not ever get it back. George’s Banks comes to mind. And a lot of other places. We came out of death and back into life in the Bering Sea. And we are never going to be the same people. Amchitka.

And so, it is a lie. We would like to cover it up and say others in the past did this, we wouldn’t. But is that really true? Could we, watching changes happen at a snails pace in the Bering Sea, suddenly wake up and be in Amchitka. Amchitka. That place is a lie, a place on the planet we call Mother Earth.

Until Next Time



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