Recently, the U.S. Coast Guard and officials from BP were reporting some measure of success in diverting at least some of the oil spewing from a broken well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico into a container ship -- thereby preventing untold additional amounts of crude from spreading throughout the Gulf of Mexico and onto shore. The moment of that announcement held some measure of hope for a truly desperate situation.

Of course, that moment of hope proved to be nearly as fleeting as any other in this ongoing debacle. Oil is still pouring into the Gulf, and for people who live in this part of the country, at least, there is literally no end in sight. Hope feels like something in the distance.

Estimates of the volume of oil gushing out of the bottom of the sea have gone up significantly -- as everyone knew they would. No matter the latest number, it's plain that m
uch damage has already been done to those Gulf shores, especially along Louisiana’s coast. And, unfortunately, even if engineers were somehow able to start capturing 100% of the oil gushing out of the bottom of the Gulf immediately, the effects of the environmental disaster will be with us for awhile.

People are downright mad. Tempers flare quickly when the topic arises, which, of course, it does frequently. Everywhere you go, people avoid discussing it.

In my Tampa-area home this past weekend, however, with my Florida-born family from the Daytona area visiting, discussions of the spill arose several times. These "discussions" would often start with a burst but end relatively quickly after someone would say they just couldn't talk about it anymore. "It makes me too angry," someone would say. Everyone else knew what they meant, because we all felt the same, and we always obliged and changed the subject without hesitation. For awhile at least.

But we'd keep talking about it, in fits and starts. We couldn't help ourselves. With tar balls in Pensacola and the oil surely coming our way eventually, it's hard to not discuss it. We'd talk about possible solutions -- and the apparent futility of all of them. About bombs and domes and how long will this thing keeping gushing anyway? (Some of us have heard it will gush for years if not stopped.) And we talked plenty about President Obama, the oil companies, the power companies and the car companies, too.

We talked about the poor people of Louisiana. And I guess we talked about ourselves, because we talked about what "We" need to do about it. So we talked about solar power and electric cars and wind turbines and even going off the grid entirely and getting out from under the thumb of the power companies altogether. And that felt like hope for awhile, as delusional as those thoughts might be. But if the discussion ever wandered back to the subject of the current disaster's effect on fish and wildlife, on Nature, we'd have to stop again. Because I guess we don't see any hope there.

Tonight, President Obama will address the nation about this ongoing catastrophe. I wonder what he will say. I will be listening.

What do you have to say?