From The Trees: The Way Back Home (Day 65)

As the tree blockade enters is 65th day TransCanada is bending its pipeline around us. Here is some heartfelt prose and musing sent to us from Cat Ripley who is holding strong in an 80 feet tree.

Is there ever truly a way back? Is it possible to retrace ones footsteps, and walk swiftly into the known with new eyes? – and instead of feeling hesitation or the fear instilled by its prior weight, to better understand it, rather, and begin to heal.

I lived up here for twelve days and came down about a week and a half ago. I see work on the pipe has progressed. I look around and I feel the struggle of my brothers. I see a fissure in a mighty bough that has become more pronounced.

I am recognized by the police, but I am remembered by the trees.

The night before I returned, my comrade and I led another into the tree village. Taking the long way in, we bushwhacked through thickets, crossing over a creek and through a meadow, following the drone of the generators and hiding in the deep shadows cast by the floodlights. I remember well the feeling of being back, and how my perception had changed.

Knowing that our friends who just returned to the ground had some hardships, particularly the cold, we started moving between platforms early, with the sun. It helps to move about, not only for warmth but also for ones sanity. In my time here, I had grown envious of the fires below us.

In retaliation, we found a metal bucket in one of the tree platforms that we affectionately call “The Condo”, and suspended it by wire above the platform. We then scavenged for wood from various dead branches, set aside a good stock of tinder and kindling, and had ourselves a rowdy bum fire that night. It was brilliant.

Tonight, to the east rises the first quarter moon, the same moon as the night I was born. It symbolizes a time for decisions. This is the time of the breaking seed, the first shoots of growth. The waxing moon brings on a new feeling of momentum. I believe we can stop this monstrosity. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think we would, but perhaps readers like you need a bit more convincing. So this (epic) tree village I call home is not actively blockading anything right now, and the pipe has been bent to go around us, but I still hold strongly to what it means – not only to this country, but to the larger, broader sphere of consciousness we call Earth. I was on the timber scaffolding wall when Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein was arrested here, and she spoke of such greatness – that we have inspired the world. Climate change is a real thing y’all, and it’s happening everywhere. How could we be so negligent?

I saw a faun running in the forest today. There are scarcely deer here anymore, which is unfathomable in a region known for deer, but it’s true. As a compose this, a flying squirrel sits watching me. I know I’ve found it, the way back home. I am here, and as devastating as it is to sit around watching this pipe go in, I’ll remain.

I am tied in by so many strings. Each one reeling from my heart to someone I love.

New strings go out to my friends in Nacogdoches.

Monday was brutal for so many. My friends are no strangers to the pain inflicted by police brutality, and to stand up again, time after time, all knowing the probability of unjust behavior to come from those who have “power” – we are so brave. We are so incredibly brave.

I have found a family within this campaign, and that love keeps me steadfast and strong. I eagerly await the day we are all together again, rings around the fire, smoke curling into the night.

Goodnight, kin. Sleep well and sleep hard.

Love from the trees,

Cat Ripley

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