Sunday, January 18, 2015

Atlantic Ocean

The CIA World FactBook, as noted previously, includes all the world's oceans, and it seems to me reasonable to wonder why. The CIA, after all, does not operate ocean liners, nor manage fishing expeditions, is not involved in researching the impact of global warming on sea levels, nor in the science of desalination. Though there are occasional islands, and even countries, which populate the Atlantic Ocean, these all receive their own pages in the World FactBook, so it is not a subtle strategy to include them clandestinely - clandestine being something one most definitely associates with the CIA. The section on the economy of the Atlantic contains just these lines: "The Atlantic Ocean provides some of the world's most heavily trafficked sea routes, between and within the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Other economic activity includes the exploitation of natural resources, e.g., fishing, dredging of aragonite sands (The Bahamas), and production of crude oil and natural gas (Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and North Sea" and its section on "transnational issues" is effectively blank. So what reason can there be for including the world's oceans? 

And then, one December morning, standing on the balcony of my fiancee's Miami apartment, I found the answer. It is into the Atlantic Ocean that the Arc of the Rainbow sails at the end of its five-star cruise across the heavens (though the ship is actually a refurbished refugee boat). The ultimate metaphor of the American Dream, which it is the CIA's responsibility to uphold, sustain and defend. And yet. And yet. I took the photograph (above), then ran out onto the beach to check. Americans, I am sorry. The sea at that point was less than two feet deep; the sands rich with shells, the water jewelled with light, the beach opulent with seaweed. But no pot of gold. Nothing. Just light, and still more light, shimmering into the Atlantic Ocean. An illusion.

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