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General News · 21st August 2012
Rosemary Bockner
What a gift I’ve been given, to be raised by a village. Here, on and around Cortes, human and non human community has given me priceless gifts, that only now, having lived elsewhere, in metropolis and clearcuts alike, I have come to more fully appreciate.

As a teenager I couldn't wait to get out of here, but now returning after 17 years, i've witnessed the devastation of industrialization on the biosphere and it's components, whether it’s in the stony straight lines of concrete and the grey frowning faces of the commuters in the cities, or miles of massive stumps in clearcuts, I realize how precious the remaining wilderness and in particular biodiverse old growth forest stands are to the retention of life on land and in the sea.

Thank you to my parents, who chose to raise me like they did, in a complex ecosystem where we could catch grow and collect our food, socialize and interact with people of all ages and spend our time in the natural world. Living in the Gorge Harbour on a float house at age six was the pinnacle of my idyllic childhood memories.

There was always a sorrow when my dad killed the fish, but he taught me to thank the fish for giving its life to sustain our own. Our thanks was to take only what we needed and never to waste. To protect it from our personal human potential to damage it and pollute it, and from other larger forces of industry that seek to profit without giving back.

I have spent ten years in clearcuts and know well the results of industrial logging practices. I've planted harvest trees, which is really in essence the same as cutting them down, so I have worked in the forestry industry and love the way of life and the hard working people I've met, the loggers, contractors, treeplanters, brushers checkers, camp workers, and many others who have made their living in forestry, many for generations. We are all on the same side, treecutters, treehuggers and treeplanters alike stand to lose our way of life.

Life in metropolis, I've been there, I know what it is to have no community, to pass 1000 people on the street and never say hello. I know many people that think the supermarket is where food comes from and the tap is where water comes from, and everything you flush down the toilet or put on the curb on garbage day just disappears.

I remember the cornucopia of life in the early 80's. Seagulls that fascinated my child self by swallowing starfish whole. Oysters that dad would shuck on the beach and let me chew on the salty 'muscle' left on the shell. Moss and lichens that my mom taught me to identify. Catching red snappers and cod in the dingy for our dinner. Baby otters, minks, curious seals, enormous sunstars, luminous in the depth. Limpets and barnacles. Eagles and herons and loons. Thank you.

Thank you forests. Mushroom walks like easter egg hunts, meaty and satisfying in mashed potatoes and soups. Cool shady depths, mother trees that seem to absord voices. Fern kingdoms, black bogs and striking bright yellow skunk cabbages. Old falling down homesteads, swathed now in brambles, the homesteaders long gone and their remnants almost taken back into the earth by so many wet and windy winters. As time passes and more and more of what I knew is lost forever, I am grateful to have experienced it.

Thank you for teaching me that the ultimate gift is to return home, to return your gifts to your home.

I am involved in the organizing of Forestfest this year, in advance of IT's planned start date for the logging of their corporately owned lands, to bring the community together to share in one another's gifts, to prepare ourselves for whatever comes next, so that we can meet the threat of corporate greed with one voice, a united song. I will sing with my sister Amy and my dear friend Marguerite on Friday the 24th at 7:30pm, and although I’m not particularly keen on public performance, I feel it is my responsibility to give my gifts back. I will be singing for the forest, forgetting my shyness, and adding my voice to the song.

I invite you all, my dear community, to bring your gifts, your talents, your strengths, your song to protect the community of plants & animals who give us these gifts in the first place, to come and add your voice. I implore you to see the sadness of IT's plans as a call to action, and not to give up.

We need each other, our abundant community, now more than ever. I love you Cortes, and all your children.