Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Come Help Us Save This Place

"There will always be logging!" Blurted out by one of the librarians the library ONLY hires from logging families (yes, they do). Then again, one of them not only told me Douglas Fir couldn't survive against salal - and was totally boggled when I told her salal was a native plant. Then again, another one of these people claims the native alder is an import. It's not only a nitrogen pump like peas, but the ancient firewood tree of the Pacific Northwest; it falls and shatters and kids can pick up pieces. Then it rots quickly into fertilizer.

But this person also told me a tree is like a stalk of corn. She seemed confused when I told her the growth cycle of a forest is 500 years, not 50. I'll be none of these people know about the 40-tree fungal root connection in a forest. But as another person - becoming enlightened, by the way, as some of them are - told me, "Well, they were just told to get in there and get the wood." Yes, we've all heard a version of "We were just following orders."

Soon to be gone.
Sometimes I think they're from other planets, and breathe ammonia. Why else would one guy say, "I hate trees!"? Evidently he doesn't breathe oxygen - or perhaps he thinks his children or grandchildren won't need it. I wonder what his wife thinks of that and his claims that as long as the earth is here for him, it's fine. "We have grandchildren!" has gotten the smug, short-sighted husband slugged, at least once.

Well, they're clear-cutting by our road. I'm thinking about putting the company on notice for damages when I have to protect the homeless cougar from slavering rangers - unlike the 3 young ones the owner of Triple Nickel Farm CLAIMS a ranger shot and buried on his property (did he think he was bragging to me? Or just want to get a ranger into trouble?). AND lose property values. Look, logging is over; we're down to chipboard and wood our grandfathers wouldn't have used for kindling. It's over, people (and don't get smart, fishing resources - you're down to shipping slime eels to Korea. Buy a clue). And I'll bet a Chinese dinner these guys' idea of legal forest space around the Clallam River is one tree deep. If at all.

Meanwhile, there are only a handful of kids graduating from school, the biggest town is panting after its park trees because they've run out of anything else this size, and one promising young man just shot himself because:

This is an awful thing I'm going to do - use his story to blockade against future misery. I don't know the family, but I do know at least one of his friends, and I've seen the other children. Hearts have been torn out and crushed by this. They can't talk about it. The local newspapers don't want to run the story because it may set off more suicides. 

But suicide doesn't just show up out of nowhere. Some of the kids I saw were sharing the story - while waiting for their drug dealer, who cruised by as I was delivering food to a man who was dying after a lifetime of drug use. The little old ladies who twitter, "It's so nice up here!" just don't have a clue. That, or they're putting up a brave front, which I'll give them credit for. They've been alone so long, they have to make do with what they have, and they're blamed when they need help. 

The dying man's care-giver sneered, "Oh, he doesn't need extra food!" The heartlessness expressed toward the miserable shocked both me and Dan, my husband, who was helping me deliver the food. The man is dying. We can't share out a few mouthfuls of food? What's wrong with that kind of mind? That kind of mind killed a promising young man.

This is only 2nd-hand; the army said the poor young man who committed suicide was overweight, and yanked his whole remaining future (other family details buttress the story, but these are very private, and again, I'm not going to approach these poor people about this terrible moment).

Overweight? In the '70's, they just sent such people to the Fat Camps and got 'em into shape. If the story is true, what the army said is a goddamned lie, because I have photos of that class. Then again, it might be a cover story. I'm not verifying here; nobody can. Remember, the armies are so desperate for volunteers for their wars they've said women, gays and Germans can join the boy's club.

I covered the graduation ceremony for the local papers. I remember wincing when I heard someone at the graduation had a military scholarship (details bad, I'm afraid; I think I'd gotten to the point in the ceremony when I was scribbling "Kill me now" on the program, and was only trying to get nice photos. Oh, YOU go to ever graduation in the place for the past 8 years and see how you feel). Anyway, I remember shaking my head and thinking, "Damnit. Someday the army they're handing their kids to is going to get one killed." I am so sorry for thinking that, and I'm not using the opportunity to say I'm right. It's just what went through my head.

How do I know why these kids join? Because I've heard one say he joined to get a bonus to buy a truck, as though any military is just a job. I was the same kind of forest-ravaging-industry kid who just HAD to get out of town in 1970. Same damn fool reasons, same lies and bait. Yeah, and two friends dared me, and we all joined up together. But - 3 girls? Preferring the ARMY to a life at home? Really? I was so desperate not to end up on the factory line - a factory that had crippled my father and later injured my sister - that I went into the Green Machine.

But I learned stuff. I said "Pension Rank" to a Marine Brat at Photosynthesis Festival, and he fell over laughing. Remember this: generals don't get Pension Rank unless they can have a war. A peace-time General could be a retired Colonel. Your kid could pay for his extra star - and that extra condo in Florida. It's all they care about, no matter what comes out of their mouths. 

Now come to the (links here) Clallam Bay Comicon, and help SAVE this place before it ends up like MY home town: Everett, Washington. That was a pulp-mill town. Tree paper, that is destroying the Library of Congress as the high-acid material flakes apart. Paper can be made out of anything, including corn stalks - but then, these people think a tree is the same as a stalk of corn, don't they? 

Or do they? More and more, when I talk to people - especially young people - it's like they've been dying in a desert, and what I'm telling them is fresh water; they want more. I had to stop and ask one of them, "Am I horse-shitting you?" Eyes glowing, she shook her head, and kept listening.

These people are in deep trouble. Their kids know it - and are beginning to ask what they did with the natural treasures up here. The place needs a generation to heal and recover, or be lost forever. I lost my home town. Maybe that's why.

Note: CGI is expensive. If Vancouver doesn't have to paint out clearcuts, and has built their infrastructure from the hobby level, they're going to get the films. Responsible film-makers understand that bribing companies with no or low taxes is a fool's bargain. We have to start small, with indie films. 

Speaking of responsible indie film makers, I just reminded Johnny Depp he made Dead Man with people from Neah Bay, up the road. That's what his agents get for posting their fax number. I was very delicate and only gave contact info to them. I was trying to be a GOOD fan. I dunno if he'll ever see it, or they'll just wad it up and basket it (And don't get in a huff about his movie "The Lone Ranger." He was reprising the role Gary Farmer had in the Jim Jarmusch's film, of the overdressed rejected outsider. Yes, Farmer would have been nice - but the company wouldn't have hired him).
Frontier Street, looking West

Port Angeles actually has a website about a future. They're a lot less brutal than I am, there. But I'm kind of on the front lines, here, whether I want to be or not. Wrong metaphor? People are dying, immediately and day-by-day. I think that counts. 
Frontier Street, looking East

One last note: When the Scenic Byway was opened on Highway 112, I was covering it for the Peninsula Daily News and the Forks Forum. Mr. Gregory, of Merrill and Ring, evidently considered me an employee of papers which - as I've discovered - are an arm of the logging industry, even under their new Canadian owner. Should I say "especially under the new owner?" Don't get me started on the ignoramus wildlife stories they've been publishing. Oh, do - write and ask if that last one in which the guy doesn't know a hungry wolf from one protecting territory let those wolf pups starve - or went back and skinned them for the bounty. 

And if they continue to accuse wolves of eating people, yes they do - when you leave a battlefield or a plague village full of free meat, or native villages full of disease dead. Basically, IF any wolves in this country ever ate humans, they'd gotten the taste from genocide. I wouldn't be bringing that up any time, soon - especially not up here. Where the natives are getting a bit tired of the Beaty Eye ("Blame the Indians" every time the other towns can't get every little thing they want or think they're entitled to - and to ME! As though I wouldn't be insulted when they do that!).

Mr. Gregory didn't not realize I'm a freelancer - and Green. I'm not even a professional freelancer - my Indian Name might as well be, "She who saves the papers gasoline."

Mr. Gregory smiled and said, "We're going to show these city people what a working forest looks like."

I'll swear to that in court.

I don't know where Merrill and Ring owns property (or rents for shoddily cheap from you and me), or who's in on it - but Highway 112 has been butchered, and they're continuing all up the road. Including the big maples of Pillar Point State Park. I have a photo of who signed off on it in Port Angeles. That will come back to haunt somebody in county government, someday. Yes, it will. Just ask.

Basically, Mr. Gregory said his company was going to destroy part of the tourism industry. Oh, tell me what else he meant, considering the aftermath? The only other option is, he's clueless, and thinks everybody else is, too. It's either he's Big Mr. Greedy Meanie, or he laughs like Mortimer Snerd. Hey, I didn't twist his arm and make him say it! I'm just the messenger. Don't Bradley Manning ME.

Cancer rates are extremely high, here. Poisoning after logging isn't as bad as it used to be - but there are still poisons in the watershed. It's worse than Bremerton (those idiots put a golf course in their watershed - one with nary a weed).

I've been a member of a lot of class action suits, for bad actions from bad businesses, and I'm now part of the class action suit involving Anniston, Alabama, and everybody who served in Fort McClellan going back decades, who were poisoned by the nerve gas our country later sold Saddam Hussein to poison the Kurds. These gears grind slow - but exceedingly fine. If I were in the logging industry, I'd be doing research into forest tourism - including working tourism to help with the recovery (yes, city people WILL pay to come to hard work, just for the fun of it), retraining my people to take advantage of the Audubon areas, and generally not ending up like the Tobacco Industry. They - and their kids - live here, too. And those kids want a real future, not one based on an imaginary past where nature was an enemy to be - as Ann Coulter put it - raped as we choose. 

NOBODY has to be locked out of the future. If there's one thing I know from long experience, it's that gatekeepers, sooner or later, lose the battle - and end up the only ones locked behind the gates. Join the future while we have the chance. And we still have one.

I had a perfect title for this posting, but it was too horrible as a pun. Let's just say it had to do with an old method of fighting pain. Even I'm not that clueless. Or mean. 

Maybe I should have called it, "It's a long worm that has no turning."

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