Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Summer of '93

Lynn Thompson Photography


Soft drums tap-tap-tapping in the early morning mist.
Around the fire we gathered , we were there to resist.

We were Protectors from the Peace Camp,
from the cities and the towns,
We came to say these ancient trees
should never be cut down.
We stood across the road,
as the logging trucks rolled in,
The police read the injunction,
then arresting could begin.

Soft drums tap-tap-tapping 
as the early morning dawned,
we stood, arms linked together, 
and then some of us were gone.

Tears in our eyes, our hearts on fire,
we stood for the trees.
One by one, they carried us
by our arms and by our knees.
We would not let them pass,
nor let the mighty old growth fall.
Told them take us one by one,
or don't take us at all.

Soft drums tap-tap-tapping 
as we stood for the trees,
those glorious mornings on the road,
the summer of '93.

In Clayoquot Sound, in the summer of '93, local protestors began blocking the logging roads at the Kennedy River bridge, and brought logging to a stop. As the Peace Camp was formed, people came from all over to stand on the road with the locals, to protect the ancient rainforest. I was there as many mornings as I could, working two jobs, and they were the most passionate of my life. My heart was on fire. The big trucks rolled in, the injunction was read, then those who agreed to be arrested that day - from children to the elderly -  were hauled off, by arms and legs, two police per person.

12,000 people took part in the peaceful protests. Of the 932 arrested, 860 were charged with criminal intent. Penalties included fines, probation and jail sentences. At the time, it was the biggest instance of civil disobedience in Canada, and the unjust treatment of the peaceful protesters gained support for the environmental movement in BC.

 In 2000, the entire Sound was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. But in 2006, areas of the Sound were opened once again to logging.

source: Wikipedia

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motiff: the '90's. For me, the 90's were all about the forests and wild beaches of Clayoquot Sound.


17 comments:

  1. ah protesting and the benefits of change. So nice of you to share this with us

    Happy Wednesday Sherry

    much love...

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  2. Such an inspirational piece...!!

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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  3. What a beautiful poem. The ending is so sad though. I am grateful to you and all who participated in trying to save our friends.

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  4. Wonderful! You capture the passion. I can visualize the scene and the victory. Glorious to be so many in unity.

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  5. I am sure as you look back you think, how glad you are that you did this Sherry.

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  6. Logging blockades began in the 80s at Meares Island. In 1991 we were fighting for the Walbran Valley. In 1992 we were laying our bodies on the Clayoquot Arm bridge. In 1993 we were joined by thousands. We have blocked them since then, but that was the biggest year for sure. Glad you were there Sherry! I was on probation.

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  7. Whew! So powerful, Sherry. I've been dealing with a back spasm for the past few days (horrible) and can only sit up for a few minutes. But, in trying to do a wee bit of catch-up, came upon your incredible poem and called out to Mike: "Get in here, quick. I gotta read this to you - it's so good - it's worth suffering for!". Some of your work just blows me away!

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  8. Wow...always so heartwarming when people come together for the right cause. A beautiful poem Sherry and thank you for saving us some trees....

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  9. This beautiful poem reminds me of the 'Chipko Movement' here in India. Just copy-pasting a bit from Wikipedia: In the 1970s, an organized resistance to the destruction of forests spread throughout India and came to be known as the Chipko movement. The name of the movement comes from the word 'embrace', as the villagers hugged the trees, and prevented the contractors' from felling them.

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  10. "To stand for the trees" --- I am so touched by this story, Sherry. How wonderful it is to fight for our nature. I hope the full benefit from this battle is much realized & appreciated today. :)

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  11. Special people make the difference in the world - you are one - of that i am sure xo

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  12. Hey Sherry--wonderful poem and description of these events. So sorry that they are logging there! It's such a beautiful area--you've done a great job here as well as those other jobs. k.

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  13. Good for you Sherry.At least you tried. That is important.

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  14. When humanity stands together it is a mighty force indeed....such an inspiring piece Sherry! I love it!!

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  15. I can feel the nostalgia in this poem, Sherry. I know these were good and happy days for you!

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  16. I remember that fondly, as I spent, on campus, at Carleton University, doing summer courses. Remember seeing, in the student centre, a huge stump that loggers had abandoned after clear cutting the forest, protesting their actions. How groups, like The Tragically Hip were getting involved, in this fight.

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  17. It is only when we rise up and stand for what we believe in that we achieve something that will positively affect the planet. Well-penned, Sherry!

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