Trees, Chickens and Anarchy

Yesterday I remembered how to feel the trees as I walked past them.

A chicken and I want to read Malcolm X’s autobiography.

Pruning with an anarchist from Minneapolis. Talking about if it’s worse to vote or not to vote. Surprisingly the anarchist was more in favor of voting than I was.

Reevaluated our political positions and learned that there is not a Democratic party in Minnesota– there is the DFL party (Democratic Farmer Labor Party)

And then we started talking about demographics with the native Californian in the tree next door. He was telling us how there are twice as many hispanics in California than white people. I pushed him on this question, because you wouldn’t think this by looking at the population where we are at. And you definitely wouldn’t think that from the farmer’s convention that we were at on Saturday. It was farmers and activists from all over the north and central of California, and I didn’t see one person of color outside of our team there.

And I asked him about that. And he skirted around this question. And I pushed further. Are there many farmers that are people of color? And he kept repeating that there were so many hispanics in the farm labor field, but none of them were farmers. It was always a white person.

White privileged young kids at the activist get together. I want to do a study on the demographics of the area. And find out exactly why it is that farming seems to be an exclusively white thing to do, at least from the ownership perspective out here.

And then last night at our diversity dinner talk, when we were brainstorming ways to change culture to be more inclusive, my anarchist friend said, jarringly, “Stop working exclusively with white sponsors.

And another teammate talked about the attrition rate for the program, and how minorities are dismissed.

Was a very interesting dinner to say the least.

And then pruning with the activist. Earlier in the day, it was just him and I because I chose not to do construction projects due to an personal and political aversion to violent power tools. And he said he could actually feel me on that one, because he used to protest the logging companies with his group.

And I asked him why he got out of the activist business, and he said it was because the group got placed atop the list of the domestic terrorist groups. Though they never hurt anyone.

I waited all day until the right moment in the trees to ask him more. And he told me all.

He told me how they would camp out in trees for weeks at a time, how they would chain themselves up in trees, put boards up there on the branches to sleep on. And then they would have people down at the bottom to tell the loggers that there were people up there, as a lot of times they couldn’t even see, or didn’t even look.

They used to chain people in the roads as well– to big pieces of equipment in ways that would injure the people if the objects in the road were attempted to be removed. And that’s what really got them on the list– was the effectiveness of blocking the roads. Unfortunately he lost one of his friends through the radical protests– their practice was built on the idea that no one would harm a human being to cut a tree. But, upsettingly this was not fully the case, and he lost a friend in the protests.

One of the young farmers I met at the convention last Saturday continues to art of tree protesting, and you can find pictures of her online tied up in a tree protesting the  Bypass. Which unfortunately went through and is being built now. She was up there for two months, though. Really cool.

The rest of the day in the trees I pruned by myself. And I found my monkey self. And I found my calm self. And I realized how I need to work alone during the day. If there is ever an opportunity to wander off an tackle the big, jungle-like tree in the back corner of an orchard, that tree is mine.

And if there are those people with great stories hidden underneath their skin, those are the people I will wait for exactly the right moment to ask questions from, and I will ask.

And then I will run back to my tree in the corner and write. Maybe put some boards on the branches and take a nap.


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