Archive for October, 2012

A forest dream

Forest of Tonquin, Vancouver Island, Canada

I dream of beautiful trees.  They are my friends.  I sit in the branches of one, and hold it around the trunk.  The branches spread wide and low, and the patterns in the bark have a texture that glows with life.  A group of environmentalists sit under the trees, discussing the best way to cut them down.  I get upset that they want to cut them down. Can’t they see the beauty, and feel love for the trees?

They say, “it’s okay, you don’t need to worry, we’ll cut them down in an ethical and sustainable way.”

I cry and scream.  “No!  You can’t just make everything okay by saying a couple of bullshit words.  That doesn’t justify murder.”

They try to calm me and reassure me that there is nothing inherently bad about destroying the trees.  They suggest I make myself an earring out of the timber of the tree, as a memento, to keep the memory of it always in my skin.

I scream and cry.  I yell at them, “These are my friends you’re talking about.  You’re going to kill them, and you want me to then take their bodies and cut them up to make an earring?  Would you cut up your dead friends and put their pieces in your skin?  I don’t want a memory of them, I want them to live!”

They still don’t understand.  They can’t hear what I’m saying at all.  They try again to calm me.  “We won’t cut all of them down.  Some of them we’ll just cut off their limbs.”

I look down at the limb I’m sitting on, run my hands over the bark.  It’s beautiful.  It’s alive.  It speaks to me.  I don’t want it to be cut off.

I say, “How would you feel if I said that to you?  ‘I won’t kill all of you, some of you I’ll just cut off your limbs.  Nothing to be concerned about.’ How can you say such a thing of my friends?”

I scream and cry louder.

A shady dealer sidles up to me to negotiate a price.  “I can give you a good deal.  Where I’m from we don’t have much timber, we really need it to rebuild our economy.”

I scream at him, “It’s not me who wants to kill and sell them, they are my friends. It’s those people who want to sell them.”

I cry and cry.  I’ve never felt such grief.


I wake up from this dream and look around my house.  I see murder and slavery.  Now everything in my house is the dead and enslaved bodies of friends.  Every sheet of paper is a mangled piece of tree-friend.  Every piece of timber an amputated limb.

A saucepan was a being that was peacefully in the earth, was taken far from home, extracted, extruded, boiled and burned.  What must it feel like to go through such torture?

What was yesterday a plastic bucket is now grotesque, the bodies of the buried gone through such pain and torment as to no longer be recognisable.

The house fills with the death-cries of pain and suffering.

I can’t live with this.  Now that I’ve heard the screaming, I’ll never be able to ignore it.

I can’t live with it, and this makes me want to not take my life, but give it.  I give my life to the cause of stopping the torture.  I dedicate my life, and am ready to lose it, if that will end the suffering.

I want to give you this dream.  I want you to have this feeling of kinship with all beings, this sense of their pain.  I want this to be always with you.  I want this to be worth more to you than the life you have now.


This dream has changed my sense of alive-ness and dead-ness.  All of Earth is now alive, and feeling.  What we consider dead is merely becoming a different form of life.  Becoming the landscape.

Who speaks for the land?

Who speaks for forests, for mushrooms, for birds and the sea?  For all those whose home we share?

I hear only the voices of money and genocide, of those who believe themselves entitled to destroy all living things to make luxuries for themselves.

I shall speak for the beings of the Earth.

“We want to live.  Now, and in the future.  We don’t need technology.  We don’t need progress.  We don’t need renewable energy.  We don’t need a low-carbon future.  We need the destruction to stop.  We are being killed at a rate of 200 species a day.  We are quickly being consumed, bulldozed and poisoned out of existence.  What we need is a home, community, clean water and air.  Sustainability won’t help us.  Transition won’t help us.  Fighting back to defend ourselves and our home will.  We need your help.

“We don’t care if people are alienated.  We don’t care if our fight harms the economy.  Our lives are more important.  We ask you to always act in our interest.  As you belong to our community, what is in our interest is also in yours.

“Ask us what we need, and what you can do to help us.  We are all around you, we are living in your neighbourhood, as you are living in ours.  We are the trees, the rivers, the mountains and plains, the mammals and reptiles, the rocks and the wind.

“Please help us stop the destruction.  The mines, the economy, the electricity, the burning of our ancestors, it all needs to stop if we are to live.  We invite you to come home.  Join us.”

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For anyone wanting to develop their ability to listen to the land, I recommend participating in a Council of All Beings, and studying Kamana Nature Awareness.

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A quote from Derrick Jensen, in Endgame: “I’ve heard that before making important decisions, members of many native cultures would ask, ‘Who speaks for wolf? Who speaks for salmon?  I ask that here.”

Let’s start involving all who are affected by our actions in the debate and decision making.


photo credit