When the pipeline intended to carry fracked gas first made an appearance in the local newspaper, I was surprised. I hadn’t heard anything of it, yet our neighboring town’s select board was meeting, and they weren’t happy. The company also contacted our town government, and wanted to come through our town, too. The gas company’s public relations person had contacted many of the small towns to set up meetings. This pipeline would snake it’s way north from Pennsylvania and New York, tunneling west to east across Massachusetts, then hang left to crawl north up the length of Maine before ending along the Nova Scotia coast, where distribution would happen.
Suddenly out of nowhere ( to my unobservant mind) the fracked gas industry was getting ready to literally roll into New England big time. Mine isn’t to convince anyone of the rights and wrongs of this. I only tell this small part of the story. There was enough clear documentation to show that New England did not need additional gas. Massachusetts towns strongly support solar. My neighbors and I were alarmed when company representatives explained how they would tunnel and blast under our local swamps and bodies of water, including under the Connecticut River.
The blasting and tunneling would also happen under or close to of our local aquifers, under our beloved brooks, through the wildness of the state forest that borders homes in my greater neighborhood, all tucked into the forest edge along a dirt road. There are not a lot of folks here. We live with pre world war 2 phone lines and electric lines that come to us in several helter-skelter directions. Storms sometimes take down branches, and we are without electricity. We live here together to hear the streams running, to hear eagles and barred owls call, and to bump into bear, moose, fox, and coyote as we all go about our business.
We share the land with Seen and Unseen beings as well as the presence of those that lived here before we did, as neighbors, Some see ghostly forms now and then, the Old Ones that lived here before us remain. Sometimes we are caring for the same piece of land, just in different time streams. We’ve felt the presence of other than living here and now humans in varying degrees. I fancy we are part of a clan that transcends time and species.
When it looked highly likely that this pipeline would go ahead, despite environmental concerns and documented lack of need, folks began to meet, town by town, and gather information. Next we began to work together all across the region. At one time, about a dozen folks met in my yard. We welcomed non-humans, to join our circle, the trees, the spirits of land, water and soil, the Genus Loci. We wanted to work together to protect that which we all held sacred. I wanted soil, rock and water to know we would work together to protect it from being blasted, the stream to know we didn’t want her waters sullied. That we needed their help.
Later, when we met with company personnel in our town hall, things weren’t going so well. I had the thought that all the beings in town weren’t there. Certainly the people that lived here in the 17700’s and 1800’s had a vested interest. This was their town, and where they were buried, just up the road. So I invited them.l to come join us at the meeting. I explained the situation. In a few moments I felt a small breeze pass me at the door of the town hall, just as the gavel rang and the first person was recognized by the chair of the select board and allowed to speak. The tide was beginning to turn. One by one more townspeople were allowed to speak, and the feeling in the room became gentler, more hopeful.
What I learned from this is how unexpectedly love can cross barriers when we are open to possibility .
Have you had occasion where love’s fluid boundaries has surprised you? You’re welcome to share, and I’ll post some of the replies here online.