Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Summer of '93


In the early dawn,
the soft patter of the drums
calls to me,
like the
heartbeat 
of the earth mother.
In the campfire's glow
peaceful smiles,
committed faces,
as we are given
our instructions 
for being
on the road.

Then the big trucks roll in,
intimidating,
huge,
headlights lighting up
the unswerving gaze 
of the protectors
on the Kennedy River bridge.

Blockade.

The enforcement officer
reads the injunction,
megaphone aloft,
eyes grim.

Some of us move
to the side of the road.
Some of us  sit down.

One by one,
by arms and legs, 
grannies, young people,
and everyone in between,
are carried off 
by the police
to tears and cheers.

My heart swells 
with grief and passion
for the trees,
for the earth,
for these brave protectors,
guardians
of the future
of us all.

All summer,
we gather.
All summer,
the arrests are made

and still,
the trees come down.

It is twenty years later, now.
Twenty more years
of the trees coming down.

And we're all
getting
hotter.


Sally Sunshine

Fireblossom, at Real Toads, set us the challenge recently of writing about what we feel passionate about. Those mornings, before dawn, on the road, in 1993, were the most passionate of my life. In the biggest instance of civil disobedience in BC history, over 800 protestors were arrested that summer, one of them a grandma, then in her 70's, Betty Krawczyk, who served several lengthy jail terms for refusing to stop blockading. (Betty, now in her 80's,  is still an activist, still going strong! She is the embodiment of Passion!)

Eventually, due to the publicity,the  increasing media spotlight on the area, and public support, Clayoquot Sound was designated a biosphere reserve.

MacBlo and Interfor decided to log somewhere less problematical.....but vigilance is still required. Old growth is still being cut, and shipped away unprocessed. There have been recent proposals  to mine Catface Mountain, across the harbour from Tofino. Fish farms endanger the wild salmon.

And only an hour and a half away, where I live, in Port Alberni, the government has sold off huge tracts of what they call "tree lots" to private companies, who therefore have NO pesky guidelines to follow in how they lay waste the hillsides all around this town.  They are stripping the forests as fast as possible, leaving moonscapes in their wake, littered with wasted wood and debris.

But at least that summer, the Summer of '93, for a time, we stood between the threat and the forest, and we saved some ancient areas where the grandfathers still sway in the ocean breeze,  where children can still dream of what the earth once looked like, when she was young.


7 comments:

  1. It is wonderful to feel a part of something so big, isn't it? To work so passionately for something you believe in. I enjoyed your reminiscing here, Sherry

    ReplyDelete
  2. ooohhh yes, we are all getting hotter. hey, the summer of '93. that was a big summer for me, too. sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I hope your poem's beauty somehow travels through space, through the unseen, to sway the hearts of those who don't care about eath's destruction. This is so sad.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love people of passion. If the trees could speak they would yell at the top of their trunks with their core, their hearts, thank you to you humans who cherish our existence with the equal to your being, your souls. We are one. Gracias, mi amiga.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love people of passion. If the trees could speak they would yell at the top of their trunks with their core, their hearts, thank you to you humans who cherish our existence with the equal to your being, your souls. We are one. Gracias, mi amiga.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I remember the summer of '93. I was dreadfully ill that year, and missed so much. I wanted to be with my young brother, the artist, when he first visited the Louvre. I wanted to be on the Island, with you and the others, but I could do neither. My heart was there, on the Island, even when part of it was in Paris. It was, indeed, a year to remember.
    K

    ReplyDelete
  7. My friend, back in the day, used to go around saying, "Hey man, you dig civil disobedience?" It's clear that you did, Sherry, and I salute you!

    ReplyDelete

I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!