Sunday, 21 of January of 2018

Chris Schimmoeller – To Activists Everywhere: A Love Letter

Kentucky Heartwood is a not-for-profit organization and community of individuals dedicated to the health and well-being of Kentucky’s native forests. We are driven by a reverence and respect for wild nature, a love of old trees, and the dream of a future where the rich forests of our region are once again allowed to grow old for their benefit and ours. We are a mostly volunteer organization, and your support matters. Please consider joining Kentucky Heartwood today.

I am crouched on the floor over two thick
documents, deciphering the logic
affixed to the latest Forest Service project:

This is my position of resistance,
where I first confront
betrayals of confidence, of logic,
and of the land.

I am lonely with sadness
at what can happen
when the magic of the last
wild places is trespassed.

I want a forest of ferns and fast-moving streams
and trees that have a history, where moss
thickens on rock and each drop of water is registered,
where the smell of earth and the presence of silence
conspire and sudden wildflowers and bird calls
catch my breath, where life can thrive
wild and inscrutable

But there are holes bulldozed into these places
and plans for more on these endless pages.

Resistance might seem hollow except for you.
This is a love letter to you:

You are the man, the woman, the child who
acts on behalf of the forest.
You are the people I know and those I’ve never met
You are the letter writer, the hiker, the birdwatcher.
You are on the frontlines, enduring
You cook food, hold signs, organize.
You speak out
You learn the law better than them and spend
countless hours calculating their crimes.
You read.
You take the job with no money because you care
You donate equipment
You type the newsletter
You come to protests when you are needed
You make time to send a check, write a good word,
write a letter.
You are the only other person who comes on the hike
You are the old growth guru who stays in touch
after all these years
You hold me when I cry
You write appeals
You make signs, buy stamps
You hike the Sheltowee
You inspire school children, leave me notes
You feed me
You host meetings
You come to meetings
You are the person who works on other issues
that matter
You volunteer
You play music
You say the difficult things first
and inspire
You challenge the worldview
You raise children
You are young, old, poor, rich,
alone or in community
You despair, grieve, hope, celebrate, rage and endure.
You are my heroes, every one
My heart is huge with love for you
and this beautiful, wacky, stressed-out, courageous,
visionary movement/inspired by you and driven by you.
You are perfect.
We should celebrate.

Chris Schimmoeller of Kentucky Heartwood
February 25, 2003
September-October 2003 Earth First!

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