Sunday, June 2, 2013

Report on No-Fracking Work--March-May 2013

Signs along Moncure-Pittsboro Rd, near Jordan Dam Rd., Moncure


I began canvassing my neighbors here in Moncure, which is within a mile or less of the Lee County border, in late March.  At first I made up my own petition, and then Bonnie Bechard and Elaine Chiosso helped me with a non-partisan petition.  I made up a flyer, which I showed them.  Keely Wood in Lee County with the Stand Your Ground No-Fracking group, gave me a dozen signs.  I began near home and worked my way toward Pittsboro along Moncure-Pittsboro Rd.  Where people weren’t home, I left a flyer: Why I Oppose Fracking.  I went out for two hours eight times, got eighty signatures on my petition, which will go with the on-line petition started by the Chatham County Democratic Women (also non-partisan), put out thirty plus signs, and Keely brought me a big one, aimed at Jordan Lake traffic: “Fracking Will Kill Jordan Lake” on one side, and “Stop the Frack Attack” on the other.  About ten people refused to sign, only two of those in favor of fracking, some debating the issue still, others cautious about signing.  I also arranged for Elaine Chiosso of Haw River Assembly to give a presentation on fracking at the August 20 meeting of the Southeast Chatham Citizens Advisory Council.

I always dreaded going out.  I made myself do two hours on Saturday afternoon, except when I had a workshop and once when I was out of town at a mystery convention.  About a third of my neighbors I had met or knew slightly.  Others knew of me or had seen me walking my dog on Jordan Dam Road.  About half had never seen me before when I knocked on their doors.  What kept me going were the men and women who welcomed me, many not knowing until I came how fracking threatened our lives and homes.  I’ll never forget their gratitude, their eagerness to help, and most were elderly, often living alone on very little money.  Moncure is multi-racial, and I talked to both black and white folks.  

I check my signs as I drive the main roads where I left them.  This is mowing season, but the signs are looked after.  When I put out some flimsy signs Elaine got me as a temporary measure, a big thunderstorm “tore them up.”  Those folks were so grateful when I replaced their signs.

In recent weeks people I call on have told me they see the signs.  I had also put out flyers and one on the bulletin board in the Moncure post office, over a two-month period, but one day recently I found the flyers gone, and one on the bulletin board, too.  I asked our postmistress if she knew what had happened, and she and I found them torn up in the wastebaskets in the lobby.  She was more distressed than I was.  I remembered the words of an old friend, Len Randolph, when I was chair of COSMEP, the small press organization back in the 70s–a wild and wooly group it was then.  “When you make enemies, it means you’re getting something done.”

I began working against fracking to keep myself from despair.  A man I talked to yesterday said it well and simply: “Instead of worrying about energy, we should be worrying about having enough drinking water.”

I thank all those neighbors of mine who trusted me, welcomed me, and thanked me.  Given the heat and my need to do a lot of new writing this summer, I will be working mainly on line now.  Here’s a poem to end with.  Check out the earlier blogs here on fracking: (March 17, 31, and April 7).  That link to the online petition is:


RIPENING XXIX. May 26, 2013

You never step twice into the same river
for different waters are always flowing.
–Heraclitus, Greek philosopher, 600 BC

Clearly I am
valued: my words, the way I see the
world and other people.  My tribe
includes all of us living in this planet
village.  If we harm each other, we
harm ourselves, too.  The globe has
shrunk, and we need now to save
our water, grow sufficient healthy
food, refuse toxic waste and trespass,
live more kindly, submit to 
enlightenment, replenish joy.
Ripening XXVI.

What if that is my main purpose
here on earth?  To submit to
enlightenment, replenish joy?
I do that faithfully, set aside
this Sunday time to dig deeper,
seek clarity, a kind of prayer, 
an opening to the Inner Self.
I listen, willing to love and also
to let go if no loving strands
come toward me.  Nothing ever 
does return in exactly the same 
way, and yet the river of love 
still flows, and we may step in 
if we don’t expect the same 
waters to be flowing.  With these 
gossamer strands I may, one at 
a time, change the world.  Two 
women my age were welcoming.  
Both lonely.  One, sewing, still in 
robe and pajamas, signed my
petition, then wanted to take me
to her church where people loved
each other.  I thanked her, left a
sign along Old Number One:
“Water equals Life: No Fracking.”
The other woman was on her
way to feed the birds.  She planted
clover for the rabbit she saw one
Easter morning.  Her husband is
ill, but she wanted his approval
before she signed the petition.
She grew up in Moncure, but,
returning, finds no one will talk
to her.  I leave another sign,
meditate on how quickly both
women, whom I surprised, 
came to trust me.  It’s all we
have in this life that’s permanent:
these threads of connection–so 
fragile, so easily broken, yet 
persistent and nourishing of our 
souls, our lonely, individual selves.  
How we long to know: someone 
else is there; someone else cares 
what happens to us.  The secret 
of a long, fruitful life is to let 
other people near enough to 
remind us to submit to the truth 

in our depths and replenish joy.


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