Thursday, August 23, 2012

hope, lost and found

The mountains in the distance on the right hand side of this photo are part of the Thompson Divide.  If gas development is allowed to proceed, this view and the air and water quality in this area, will be dramatically altered.  A great many people are working to preserve this place and protect it from development.  More on that here:

Sometimes I forget that I am powerful.  Sometimes my self talk is abusive, telling me I'm powerless, I'm weak, I'm useless.  Sometimes I lose hope.  Sometimes I'm afraid.  Sometimes I become nearly immobilized by fear --  fear of the massive loss of species we are going through, fear of loss of the environment that sustains us all, fear of the destructive greed of multinational corporations-- arms manufacturers, big pharma, industrial food giants, oil and gas companies.  Sometimes I get so angry, I feel this impotent rage.  It's an anger based in that fear.  Because I've forgotten that I am powerful, that WE are powerful.  

I watched this video last night:
It's Bill Moyers interviewing journalist and activist Anthony Baxter who made the documentary film, "you've been trumped", about Scottish homeowners who take a stand against Donald Trump building a mega golf course development over one of Scotland's last stretches of wilderness.  I felt such a sense of sorrow over their loss, our loss.  And I felt that impotent rage rising up.

Today, I got a note from someone very, very dear to me.  She said she'd written a letter to Senator Bennet about Saving Thompson Divide from gas development.  She shared her heartfelt letter with me and went on to say, "
If I am standing at the proposed well site of S&G when they arrive and I cry do you think they might change their mind?"

This is a thought I've had too.  I asked my husband, a local Sheriff's Deputy, "Will you be mad at me if I go stand in front of a drilling rig to stop the destruction of so much that is dear to me?"  He joked, "Make sure I'm the beneficiary on your life insurance."  Then said, not so jokingly, "Don't get arrested.  It could be the end of your job."  

I'm not afraid of losing my job.  I'm a little afraid of losing my freedom.  But I'm most afraid of the permanent loss of the clean air, the clean water, and the wilderness that sustains us.  What is life without the exultant beauty of nature?  What are my small concerns next to the losses of entire species, entire ecosystems?  

I sent my friend a copy of Julia Butterfly Hill's book, The Legacy of Luna, and vowed to reread it myself.  Julia sat in a tree for more than 2 years, to protect it and the ancient trees around it from clear cutting.  It's a harrowing story and an inspiring one.  

It seems to me, more and more, that direct action is the only thing that is going to save us.  Will I "Occupy" Thompson Divide if it comes down to it?  I think, yes.  

I'm thinking about the courage it must have taken for Julia to sit in that tree in the face of harassment and intimidation, through heat and cold, hunger and loneliness.  I'm thinking of the folks in Scotland who also stood up to harassment and intimidation-- Anthony Baxter who continued to stand up even after being arrested for exposing their plight.  I'm thinking about Tim DeChristopher sitting in jail, after his courageous and inspired act of civil disobedience, still standing up for what he knows in his heart is good and right.  

Inspired creativity and courage is called for.  I have to ask myself in all of this, how can I come from a place of love instead of from a place of fear?  When I think of all that Mother Earth provides for us, without asking anything in return, my heart swells with Love.  Courage comes from Love.  Recently I read that a certain translator changed words from the ancient poems of Rumi, often substituting the word Love for God.  I'm a stickler for accuracy, but after quite a bit of thought on the matter, I've found that I'm okay with using Love as a synonym for God.  God=Love, Love=God.  That's the kind of God I could believe in.  Love is my Religion.  Yes.  This gives me Courage.  

All of this reminded me of a poem I wrote in gratitude to those who have been so courageous and so inspiring to me, reminding me that together, with love, we are powerful:  

you are a firefly in the night
it's dark
it's cold
the clouds are thick tonight
no stars
no moon
there is no light anywhere
you can't see or hear your friends
you feel so alone, so vulnerable
you are afraid to turn on your light
you don't know what is waiting out there in the dark

you are afraid

but, you are a firefly
you have a light inside of you
it is your natural inclination to shine brightly
keeping your light hidden for too long hurts
even though you are afraid, you switch on your light
it feels so good to shine so brightly that you begin to fly around in a beautiful, ecstatic dance
you forget to be afraid
you shine and shine and fly and dance
you laugh
you look around again
and you see so many other lights in the night
dancing, shining, laughing, playing
with you

you are joy
you are light

and so are they

your courage, your joy, your light, your dance, have given them courage to come out and shine too.

together you light up the night

the world would be a more sorrowful place without the courage, joy, playfulness, and delight, of you fireflies.

thank you my firefly friends, for having the courage to shine your light in dark places.
when I am afraid to shine I draw strength from your light, your joy, your dance.
thank you.
I love you.