Thursday, October 20, 2011

What a day!  This morning’s sunshine surprised most of us, who came dressed to get soaked — this turned out to be a good thing later though!  Everyone was struck by the large amount of destruction which had been caused just since yesterday afternoon.  The very steep area which is planned to be the top of the access road is now a huge expanse of bare rock, totally stripped of trees, vegetation, and soil.  One can only imagine what is occurring there now, as the rain washes unhindered down the slope.

We got the call earlier this morning, about 9:30, letting us know there would be blasting at 12:00 and 4:00.  At 12:00 we all moved to the undisputed property line, and were soon joined by more supporters coming up the trail.  We watched as a giant excavator lowered the blasting mats (also impressive in size) into place on an area slightly closer than yesterday’s blast.  Soon after, two men arrived and let us know that they were going to blast soon, and asked us to move out of the 1000 foot zone.  One of our group replied that we “could not move”.  The man also asked if we knew we were in violation of the TRO.  It seemed that they were not surprised that we stayed where we were.  This time, the workers were lined up just on the other side of the orange tape from us as they waited for the blast.  In the total silence that comes just before they sound their warning horns, we decided to serenade them with a brand-new version of “This Land is Your Land.”  At about 12:25 the charges were detonated, making a rumbling blast we felt before we heard, and sending rubble high above the trees.  In the silence afterward we sang another song:

(to the tune of “The Streets of Laredo”)

As I walked out up the path to Lowell Mountain

As I walked up the Lowell Mountains one day,

I saw a great rock drill, all covered in grey dust.

I saw the new rubble.  I saw the fresh clay.

I could see by the orange tape they’d soon be trespassing,

trying to blast on some other folks’ land

I knew they were trying to blow up our mountain.

I wished they would stop, and I held up my hand.

“Oh why are you trying to break up this mountain?

The ridgeline that makes up the rim of our home?”

“We’re just following orders from Green Mountain Power–

They want to trade turbines for deep forest loam.”

Then they told me to step back as they set our their blast mats.

They lit all the charges, blew rock to the skies.

I’ll stay on the sidelines, just holding my hand up–

Holding my hand up to stop all the lies.

We all held our hands up as we sang, and I think several folks had tears in their eyes by the time we were done.  I was a little surprised no one on the other side of the orange tape applauded.  We overheard a man on his radio say that we were only 750 feet from the blast.

Later in the afternoon, more folks arrived at our campsite and one person headed down the mountain to Newport to watch the courtroom show down — which does not seem to have changed much for the mountaintop (yet).  They mentioned in court that we were only 800 feet from the blast which occurred yesterday.   The afternoon’s blasting occurred in similar fashion, in the same area.  We might all be blasting experts before this is over!