It was cold at first light, and a band of bright orange sky to the east gave our spirits a lift as we stood in a circle at the base and shared why we were here. The feeling of mutual commitment and love for the mountain was strong. Soon we had unfurled the American flag and the Vermont state flag to carry over our heads as we walked up through the familiar forest, our boots crunching on partially frozen ground. As we emerged onto the crane path the flags were flapping in the breeze and we were chanting and singing. Finding no-one there, we measured 150′ from the Nelson’s property line out onto the path, spray painted a new boundary, pounded in no trespassing signs, and began digging holes for planting the young balsams and spruce trees we had brought. Finding that it was quiet, with no security of law enforcement in sight, we decided we had plenty of time to plant all seven of our trees, give them water from a pool nearby, build a fire pit and a nice big fire, plant our flag poles in tall rock cairns, and move a tent into our new site. We enjoyed coffee and shared food, dried out socks, talked about why we were there, and shared views about personal activism, and the ethical obligation to take action when government and regulatory agencies have failed. A common theme to our conversation was the profound disappointment many people had felt when they realized the extent to which the laws and regulations that are supposed to protect us from corporate domination of decision making in Vermont had been entirely co-opted. Many of us feel that this failure of democratic processes places the burden of responsibility upon citizens like us to take matters into our own hands. Several hours later, when a security officer arrived in a truck, looking quite flustered, we linked arms and sang the Vermont State song. If you don’t know the song (These Green Mountains), you should learn it. It mentions that the mountains belong to all of us- and that we must protect them. Personally I’m finding it to be a strong rallying point for this issue.
We had opportunity to explore around the area, and discovered that whenever we left our new campsite the security man arrived on the spot with his camera. This game kept us busy for a while. Then we decided that it would make sense to mark our new boundary in a more distinct manner, so we built cairns all along it and moved the old property boundary tape to our new line.
Considering it a good days work, we packed up and headed down. Using the new camp as a monitoring base should give us much better photos of the construction in the future.
Hiking Up the Mountain This Morning
What a day on the mountain! There were 12 of us who hiked up and moved our campsite and the property line to where it is supposed to be. No more fooling around with Green Mountain Power’s idea of where the line is. A security guard watched us mark out the line and took pictures of us doing it but really had nothing more to say other than, “The police are going to want these pictures.” But the police never showed up…? In fact there was no-one there other than one worker who seemed to be working on a piece of machinery. All we have heard is how much time has been spent keeping us out-of-the-way from the blasting and how we are costing GMP so much money and time. But here it is a beautiful clear day and no one is working. It was like a ghost town up there compared to what it usually is. I walked right down the crane path liked I owned the place, waved to the worker working on the machine and went right up to the top on the south side. Boy is the ridge decimated up there!
Anyway while I was strolling around, our band of homemakers worked hard to build a new home on a newly graveled house site….
Planting the trees was a nightmare in the newly formed bedrock! Good thing we had strong backs and determination. We hauled over soil from the other side of the Crane Path and water from a spring down the side of the mountain that we came from.
Then we rolled in the new furniture and fire pit!
Then we made the final touches on our temporary fence line….
Our neighbor seemed a little bit disturbed about our new location….
Did he want us to build up there on our property? How could we live with a 30 foot wall next to us? Where would the rain run off too?
We are happy in our new home except for our front yard view. We loved that tree but now there is 40 feet of blasting rock in front of it for the crane path! I wonder how long that tree will live?
Maybe tomorrow we will see more of our neighbors? But maybe they all went deer hunting? I hope they aren’t hunting near here because the only animal we saw all day was a lone Turkey Vulture and even he didn’t stick around. Maybe Monday our neighbors will be back . I wonder what they will think of our new diggs?