MWRA 2010-2011 Writing Contest Winners

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Carson Kurtz-Rossi
Grade 6, Andrews Middle School, Medford
Ms. Twardzicki, Teacher


A Cormorant's Boston Harbor


It's a crisp summer day. The sun is shining and a choppy breeze is slicing at the water of Boston Harbor. It is a superb day for a cormorant like me to go fishing. I was feeling cozy in my roost at Shaggy Rocks so I decided to sleep in and let the fish wait, and I did. When I got up my friends had already caught most of the fish but I still got my share. My friend Wil was returning to his nest as I left. After I finished fishing, I took in the sights of the booming metropolis of Boston as I flew over the harbor. Then I went back to my nest and napped there, recuperating. When I was done I went back out to feed. That is the way most of my summer days go. I get up, I eat, I fly around or go back to my nest to relax, I eat again, and I go to sleep. That is how it normally goes. It's a little repetitive but that is the life of a cormorant for you. Little did I know but my life was about to be turned upside-down.

A mean wind sliced at my feathers as I woke up this morning. It was a cool day, maybe sixty degrees. There was an ominous feeling in the air and a tingling in my gut. There was a bad smell like sewage that I noticed too. I knew something was wrong so I got to take a look when I saw Wil was also getting up. We decided to fly toward the acrid odor together and check it out for ourselves. The smell got worse and worse as we flew closer. I also noticed other birds flying toward the smell like us. Then we saw it.

Sewage dumping into the harbor by the tons. The water around the pipes was already becoming a murky color. The fish and the harbor seals retreating as if under siege. The smell was so intoxicating Wil and I flew away as fast as we could. "What's going on?" I asked him even though I knew perfectly well what was happening. "It looks like waste is being dumped into the harbor," he said. We flew the rest of the way back in silence. When we got back to the rocks I noticed many other cormorants coming back just as confused and worried as we were. I went to bed without eating hoping this was all a dream. Of course it was not.

In the morning the odor was even stronger and the fish were farther out to sea then usual. Some of the other cormorants that had been roosting with me at Shaggy Rocks had left. I tried to act like it was a normal day even though it was impossible. The next day was the same thing and the next day after that. Each day the smell got worse and more animals, not just cormorants were leaving. By the end of a week almost all the fish were gone. The harbor was almost deserted. There were none of the usual sounds, no fish jumping and no birds cawing. It was as if Mother Nature herself was feeling under the weather. It was time for me to leave the place I'd called home for many ye.ars. I turned my back and flew off into the crimson color of the setting sun.

Wil and I flew with the fish. If they went north we went north. If they went south we went south. Each day "I wished I was in Boston Harbor. My old nest my old life. Whenever I could I would go back and see what was happening in the harbor. As I would expect the smell was worse each time. Then one day I noticed what looked like a monstrous power plant on Deer Island. It was a huge structure that took up the entire island. I also noticed that the smell was no worse. Each time I came back after that the smell lessened and lessened. More fish and other animals were returning. Words could not describe the way I felt when there were enough fish for me to take up my old perch at Shaggy Rocks. In the mornings now I can see the plant in the distance. I know that that plant fixed this harbor. I also now know what a clean Boston Harbor means to me. It means enough food, it means a good nest, it means my life.

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