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I wrote to a friend:

I want to tell you about two of my fights that infect my bad dreams. One involves a heritage apple farm in my neighborhood. On the plus side Boyleston botanical hill took slips from the trees to keep the genetics going. On the negative side, the farm owner, after the old guys who’d owned the farm died, sold the property.

The new owner sold the land to a housing developer, who means to make a huge housing complex. Then the seller comes whining to me because I was working to get conservation money to buy the property. … too little too late.

I asked my relative, who works for DOJ and who teaches criminal justice at UMD, if she had squeeze room to get out of the deal. … She didn’t even tell our town government of the sale and I had farming experts, I.e., one in orchards expertise, ready to keep the farm intact and I had conservation money ready to come into the scene. To no avail.

Another impact in my neighborhood Is another giant housing development. It will mean ripping acres of woods across the street from my house.  … Neices of the owners sold the woods to a developer, too. … My one owl lives there along  with many plant types and other animals. Yup, it is going down to the nothing, too. … I am so sad!

As an aside, I, when I learned to walk again, went around at the rehab center to tell people that prayer. One was missing his leg from diabetes and the next foot was starting to go bye-bye. He loved the statement, as did others.

My environmentalist friend had written.

Yes, new pipeline ripping across the Appalachians, eviscerating mountains, is a total gut punch that leaves me gasping.

My survival and ability to function at all, for this is hardly the first sucker punch, begins with these words posted next to my computer:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

I’ll never have that wisdom to know the difference until knocked down a few times.

Our difference is when knocked down we get up again.  It’s the getting up, again and again, that counts.

Keep those words nearby because whether we suffer terrible nightmares or sleep peacefully in spite of it all is a choice and a discipline to think pleasant thoughts when going to sleep.  For me, sometimes it is being in nature and identifying the plants and rocks along the path.  When I’m really anxious, i repeat a short favorite poem over and over, trying to focus on every word before sleep takes me.

You need and deserve a rest, so that we may face another onslaught head-on, eyes open.

Hope this helps.

Prior to his comment, I wrote him:

Well, low and behold.Yes, the powers that be keep coming after us — we the people trying to create change.

That new pipeline on the East Coast has me flipped out. Crossing the Appalachian Trail, causing more mountain top removals and making indirectly climate change impacts ever so much worse.

I don’t mind sharing that I sometimes have terrible nightmares ending in panic attacks. How not when dreams often duplicate reality, but with a heavier punch to the gut?

On Tue, Feb 4, 2020 at 1:25 PM my pal wrote:

Thank you for reposting what I wrote last April.  These stories need to be told and retold.

Once you are aware of it, it’s striking how there is all the word violent when talking about a demonstration in France.  A staged effort to deny democracy, the right to speak out to power.

The fact is that there is nothing else to do after you fall down (and I know this personally after falling when I stopped being able to walk for a while). You pick yourself up, dust yourself off and carry onward. You try to help the natural as best as you can. What other way forward except to help the world as much as can be done is there?

Sally Dugman lives in MA, USA


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