Saturday, September 16, 2017

Dancing For the Trees

The blockades of 1993 in Clayoquot Sound -
the greatest incidence of civil disobedience 
in Canadian history ~
thousands gathered, 932 arrested, 856 charged, to stop
the clearcutting of the last of our Old Growth forests

This is Sally Sunshine, now departed
Both photos by Lynn Thompson Photography

Wild Woman remembers
dancing on the earth,
a hundred women
spiral dancing
to the beat of the drums
at the blockades of '93.
Primal, pulsing woman-power,
faces radiant, joyous,
powerful with love
for Mother Earth,
dancing for the trees,
in defiance of the Machine
whose voracious jaws, agape,
threatened to devour

wolf howls,
little girls with 
honest, determined eyes,
rainbows painted 
on their faces,
teens on the cusp 
of young womanhood,
mothers, sisters, grannies,
grey-haired women,
wise with living,
all deeply rooted 
in the earth,
united in the passion
of this moment
on the road,
a hundred women
dancing on the earth,
for the trees.

I am writing here of the Woman's Blockade. But all summer, thousands came to join us on the road. These were the most passionate hours and days of my life, the summer of '93, gathering before dawn on the road, the smell of smoke from the campfire, people sleepily arriving from the Peace Camp, the low beat beat beat of the tom toms. And then the big trucks pulled in, huge, intimidating, and the official would read out the proclamation to clear the road. Some of us stepped back. Those who volunteered to be arrested that day remained standing or sitting and were carried off bodily, to cheers and tears.

The protests received world wide media attention, creating national support for the protests. The clearcutting of the old growth was stopped and a Land Use agreement was eventually reached. 34% of the Sound is protected; 21% is under special management; the formerly 80% designated for resource extraction was reduced to 40%. But that is 40% too much for most of us.

The fight continues to protect Clayoquot Sound's ancient forests. 

For more info: Friends of Clayoquot Sound. These are the folks who made it all happen.

for Brendan's prompt at Real Toads: to write about what moves us, what powers us, what is our juice.


  1. YES! Thanks Sherry. We stood for trees but also forests and wild ecosystems. Never would I call these ours. They were and are their own. Go FOCS!

  2. That is such a cool bit of history. Really wonderful, Sherry, and wonderfully told. Thank you. K.!

  3. A beautiful tribute to women's power, to people's power to stop senseless intrusion by industry that only sees today instead of generations ahead. Well done, Sherry!

  4. Such an eloquent tribute to women's power, Sherry! Beautifully penned.

  5. Woman power - we could so do it again, even better! I wonder how the so-called leaders of this world would respond to us if we all got together,
    'faces radiant, joyous,
    powerful with love
    for Mother Earth
    in defiance of the Machine'.

    1. I am amazed we all arent out on the streets every day, at this point, as cities flood, forests burn and those at the top are useless. Change will come from the grassroots up but it needs to happen very soon.

  6. True power doesn't reveal itself in victory but resilience, the way a forest lives through every storm. The power of these wild women in 1993 runs through to the present (I think of those natives facing off against huge trucks headed to the tar sand refineries in Alberta. Canada teeters in a balance much more clarified than in America; maybe more people love their great Outdoors in your neck of the world. (Wilderness hardly exists in suburban Florida.) Great response to the challenge.

  7. This is exactly the kind of power we need today, every day, in these terrifying times.

  8. Thanks for sharing this potent piece of history Sherry. Power needs to return to coming from the people, from bottom up, not top down.

  9. Good to learn about this, a celebration and protest. Got me thinking about the movie Avatar and the trees in that.

  10. Ah... a moment brought to life. Not only where your words descriptive, they seemed to bring alive feelings.

  11. thanks for sharing Sherry, that was a heaping lot of powered unleashed


  12. This is the power that holds us strong. Thanks for sharing :)

  13. Such power... and it can be used again (and will be used)... glad for the share (so sad that the machinery was victorious)

  14. Joyous exclamation of power with as opposed to power over. Beautiful.


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