Forgiveness, a set on Flickr.“When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you'll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”
― C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces
We went to GilChrist with intention. Burn our journals. Forgive our past. We knew the pipeline construction would be in full swing but deliberately went anyway.
We did the work we came to do. The ceremony was easy. Bearing witness...awful. You can see some of the wreckage in the pictures but photos seldom do justice to the enormity of any landscape and these are no different.
I should have recorded the sounds. There were two that still haunt. A hawk that circled and cried out over and over again. The screams were somewhere between outrage and heartbreak. That was my interpretation anyway. Hawks seldom announce their presence. It kind of defeats their purpose. The other was heard on and off all day Friday and Saturday. The breaking of trees. Cracking them off at their roots. It seemed more violent than if they took a chainsaw or ax to them. Instead they bulldozed them. Most splintered as they fell. At the end of each day they burned the stumps and left over, unusable pieces in immense, smoky fires. Up and down the corridor. It was sort of like the burning of Fangorn Forest in Lord of the Rings, except more open, more machinery, no evil wizards. Humans, not Orcs.
The sky was full of dark, heavy clouds, for the most part. The weather turned cold. Coincidence? I think not.
But it wasn't all gloomy. The bees still went about their business. The sun broke through on occasion. The journals burned. All my reckoning and bad poetry. It felt, not good, but somehow right. They were 30 years of repeating myself to myself.
It is easy to be mad at the men who carry out this task. But, I must own my place in it. I drove to GilChrist. A Chevy Malibu. 30 miles to the gallon at best. We left flowers on their trucks. It was a peace offering but also a hope that we, and they, can be conscious of the price of convenience. I know the earth will forgive. Me?... I'm working on it.