BLESSINGS

001BLESSINGS

Vahu, the wind, blew fiercely last night—setting the trees to dancing in a gusto of whirling and roar. Just breathe, I tell myself, and let go. Still, I put a golden dome around the house, so vulnerable in the midst of it all. Snowfire lets me know he thinks he will sleep in the stairwell, instead of by the door. Dreya, who thinks she is invulnerable stretches out on the floor. Then it pours, turning driveway to creek and gutters to waterfall.  Remember there are places where they pray for rain, I remind myself.  I try to sleep in spite of the clamor, tensed to hear a boom and a crash.  Sometime before dawn, I awake to the silence. The forest is calm.  We walk in the early morning light. The forest is not flattened, but stands regal and proud.  I am surprised to see the driveway still there. The fallen trees I had been dreaming about all night are nowhere in sight.  Except for the creek’s roar, it is hard to tell that a tempest passed through.

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Thursday, February 2, 12-2

At Wanderland Rainforest Iseum

MID-WINTER HOLY DAY: IMBOLC

Under the blanket of Winter, beneath the cold and the dark, Earth holds within Her the new seeds of growth. Like the seed, we, too, begin to awaken; we become aware that within us are all future possibilities, all growth, all knowing. The mid-winter Holy Day of Imbolc celebrates the time when darkness begins to recede and there is a bursting forth of new life. As the light grows, so does the stirring within us — who, what, and how will we Become? What shadows need illumination within us? What desire needs a bit more light to be seen clearly? What quality in us has dimmed and needs brightening? Now is the time to shed the Dark, and renew our inner flame.

There is no charge, but donations toward the maintenance of the forest sanctuary are greatly appreciated. The ceremony begins at noon. Please come early rather than late.  Questions: contact Gwendolyn@nehalemtel.net or 503-368-6389 for more information on Wanderland Rainforest Iseum see Wanderlandrainforest.org

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PRESENTATION TO THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS ON JANUARY 4, 2017

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PERSONAL STATEMENT AND PRESENTATION OF PETITION TO THE COUNTY COMMISIONERS ON JANUARY 4, 2017

I am Gwendolyn Endicott. My family has called Oregon home for six generations; we have the history of Oregon in our family memory—I remember old growth forests; my father remembered spawning salmon swimming upstream, bank to bank in the Willamette river; his father remembered wilderness.  We have been loggers, trappers, fishermen, farmers, teachers, shop keepers, scientists, timber industry executives…

For thirty years, I have lived in a forest in the upper watershed of the Nehalem River, alongside West Coal Creek and its tributaries. With the help of botanists and biologists, I have catalogued what lives in the forest—87 native plant species; 8 native tree species; 6 salamander species; a large population of red legged frogs; mosses and fungi beyond enumeration…

I cannot even begin to describe the complexity of the forest and the many gifts it offers– in working as a sponge to filter Oregon’s torrential rains, and slow the waters that run downhill to the ocean; in working as the lungs of the planet, creating pure air; in storing carbon; in replacing nitrogen;  in the multitudes of medicinal plants and fungi that find home there. ..

There have been many changes in the thirty years I have lived in the forest: The hillside in the distance, the headwaters of West Coal Creek, is now clear cut. In the last snowfall, it looked like a ski slope. The water of West Coal Creek rises fast and roars downstream, brown and turbulent, taking with it banks and big trees as it joins a silt filled Nehalem River. There used to be schools of cutthroat trout, runs of Chum Salmon, Chinook in the Spring, and a large population of crawdads. I never see crawdads anymore; I don’t see cut throat trout, and I rarely see salmon. Behind me, the trees below a logging road have blown down, missing my house by 150 ft.

I say this to you because our actions DO have consequences. How can we believe your assertion that the present logging practices are not damaging to the environment when we look around us at hills shaved barren and remember the complexity and richness of a forest.  How can we look at those barren hills that now surround us on the coast and not know that we have lost something of great Value.

The native people of the land offer a profound ecological wisdom that we are just beginning to understand. These words come from the Iroquois:

“Think not so much of present advantage—as of the future welfare of the people. Think not forever of yourselves, not of your own generation. Think of those yet unborn whose faces are coming from beneath the ground. “

“Make your decision on behalf of the seven generations coming so that they may enjoy what you have today.”

THE PETITION

The petition I bring to you today, at the moment signed by 225 people, is a compilation of many voices and many points of view.  But all support Oregon Department of Forestry and their management policy shaped by the 1998 definition of “greatest permanent value” –as meaning “healthy, productive, and sustainable forest ecosystems that over time and across the landscape produce a full range of social, economic and environmental benefits to the people of Oregon.”

*The word “Nehalem,” as you probably know, means “where the People live.” Many of the people who signed this petition offer their first hand experience of working and living in this place.  They have been the ones to suffer from the mudslides, flooding, and diminishment of the forests.  They are also often the ones who do the repair work.

*Some of us who signed this petition worked alongside ODF these last twenty years in Watershed Councils, Land Trusts, and private restoration projects. We planted trees, did riparian restoration, water testing, culvert replacement, Bay and ocean cleanups … We also, in good faith,  attended meetings with Oregon Department of Forestry on the wisdom of “Structure Based Management” as a way to create the conditions of a sustainable forest.

*Many who signed the petition, find it puzzling how the State can be sued by the counties for attempting to follow a legal statute that was supported by the counties (including this one) 18 years ago.

*Both those who live here and those who come as tourists because it is beautiful are deeply concerned about the amount of clear-cutting they see around them, and the degradation of water quality. They do not understand how the State can be sued for mismanagement and not be forced to cut more trees to produce more revenue.  They do not believe that the current logging practices are not damaging to the “environment.”

*We realize that you have made your decision out of concern for the revenue needs of Tillamook County, but many wonder why other sources of revenue are not being considered; why, for instance, the timber industry does not contribute to county revenue, since they use the resources  of the place—and create many of the problems.

We would like our voices to be recorded as citizens who do not agree with your decision on this issue. We believe that going back to a definition of “greatest permanent value” that emphasizes revenue above all other values is, indeed, a movement backwards. We believe it would result in further destruction of the place where we live.

 

 

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WATCH OUT FOR THOSE EVIL ENVIRONMENTALISTS

003It appears that Clatsop County is engaged in a lively discussion of the benefits and consequences of the $1.6 billion Linn County class action suit against the State of Oregon. Even the mayor of Cannon Beach has taken a stand, questioning the effect this litigation would have on our forest land. And rightly so, we should be asking questions when something will directly affect the place where we live.  “The people should demand an open public vote on this issue.  Transparency of county legal matters is required by law.”(Roger Dorband, letter to the Daily Astorian)

But where is the discussion in Tillamook County? I am thinking, as I pick up the Headlight Herald while waiting for my sandwich to be ready. There on the front page is the genial, smiling face of Commissioner Tim Josi and the headline: TILLAMOOK WILL NOT OPT OUT OF LAW SUIT.  “I would not support it,” he continues, “ If it were destructive to the environment.  Environmentalist,” Josie explained, “are just playing on people’s fear in order to get donations.”

At that point I am reeling a bit and decide to get a double latte’. Well, SHAME on those evil folk, I think, for pointing out that the lawsuit is primarily paid for by the timber industry and would force Oregon Department of Forestry to manage our forest lands much like an industrial timber plantation. SHAME on them for pointing to the clear cut hills, with two trees and two logs per acre left “for the wildlife.” (First time I heard that was the way we protected our State Forest Land, I laughed. I thought it was a joke.  Mentally, I kept trying to get all the animals and birds into those two trees but I couldn’t figure out where to put the frogs.)

Oh yes, I should feel especial shame since I keep harping about my fear of losing our native forests. You see, I have learned after living with them most of my life, that they are a complexity of intertwined  plant and animal species—something alive,  something we call “forest” something that cannot be replicated. I get emotional about it.

My latte’ came, and I still have a long mental list of those I want to name. Those folk, for instance in Rockaway Beach, who didn’t stand quietly when their watershed was polluted by toxins from surrounding clearcuts. And now they even have the audacity to talk about mounting evidence that the poisons routinely used in spraying can lead to endocrine  disorders and cancers. I have even heard that some people worry about Global Warming– what happens to the earth when you destroy its forests…

In all due respect to Mr. Jose, who appears to have made up his mind as to what the county is going to do, we should be asking questions.  Who benefits from this lawsuit? How will it change the management of our state forests?  What would the consequences be to the place where we live? What are we leaving for our children’s children?   In case you have anything you want to say to Mr. Josi, his email is      tjosi@co.tillamook.or.us

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THERE’S NOT NEARLY ENOUGH KINDNESS IN THE WORLD

lee-002“THERE’S NOT NEARLY ENOUGH KINDNESS IN THE WORLD” I read this morning on Facebook. They must not live in the small towns along the North Oregon Coast, I thought to myself. My grandson, visiting from Los Vegas, was puzzled by a smiling person waving at him as he drove down Anderson road. Then he remembered– “oh yeah, I am in Nehalem now.”

Last year at about this time, when the flood waters were rising, I wrote a piece called “local angels,” about people who show up in times of crisis to help others. “They look like ordinary people—muddy boots, soaked raincoats, drenched windblown hair,” I wrote, and told the story of the driver of a black pickup that spent hours ferrying others in his wake across a lake on North Fork Rd.

Crises seem pretty easy to find this year as the darkness of winter settles in and the rains drench the hillsides. Water rises in the fields and across the roads. Add to this, a tornado, and then an election that sent many into fear and despair. There is much need across the land.  Yet, in this special place where I live, I am again inspired by the many acts of kindness and Beauty I see around me. People who live their lives by the “heart.”

I want to tell the story of a man who lives in our community who cares deeply about the animals . Since he might not appreciate being called an “angel,” I am going to call this man a local hero. His name is Lee Blockman.  If you are a stray, either human or animal, you are lucky if Lee happens by.

He runs a 501C3–“Animal Haven by the Sea Rescue.” He will come to the aid of any animal in trouble and also delivers pet food to people who, for the moment, cannot afford it.  I first heard of Lee from a friend whose elderly mother was at the Nehalem Care Center.  She told me of a young man who brought a pack of small dogs to visit the patients there and how much cheer the dogs brought to her mother. My daughter, who lives in Lee’s neighborhood, speaks of hearing the commotion of birds outside in the early morning .  Looking out her window, she sees Lee, running down the street, tossing bread crumbs in the air followed by a flock of crows.  Most likely he was also followed by dogs, cats, raccoons, chickens, a goat, and whatever else needed a bite to eat.

Lee arrived at my place yesterday a little late. He works as a handiman to help support his very large family of critters. Some he can find homes; others are too old or sick and become his housemates for the rest of their lives. On this morning, Lee arrived with a van full of nine dogs, hanging out windows every which way, and barking. He apologized profusely for bringing the dogs and being late.  It seems he had come across a homeless man sitting in front of Manzanita Fresh Foods with his head in his hands. The man was cold, wet, hungry—and very discouraged. It took  a few hours to find him shelter, food, warm clothes—and a tent.

As we worked and talked, Lee told me this was the last day for two of his dogs, a black Weimaraner and an adorable Beagle.  Age and illness had finally made their lives not worth living. For a few hours, he helped with chores around the place—trimming tree limbs, filling a pot hole, loading up the recycling–then he was off to help two of his good fur buddies let go.

Animal Haven by the Sea Rescue is located in a modest house on a small lot near Nehalem. Presently, the landlord wants to sell the property and Lee is trying to  raise funds to keep his Animal Rescue going. This is a person who puts his life where his heart is, helping those in need– especially the four leggeds of our community. If you can help keep him here doing this important work,  visit   GOFUNDME.COM   \SAVE-ANIMAL-HAVEN  or ANIMAL HAVEN BY THE SEA  MANZANITA

 

 

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