Living My Truth: Nate Madsen Holds Strong in the Redwoods

Timber harvest plan (THP) 1-97-514 is still active. Mariah is still threatened by the lumber jack's ax. The vigilance of our dedication to the preservation of this majestic wonder continues. Mariah has enjoyed continuous occupation since October 13, 1998, when I first ascended into her branches. I have enjoyed the support of too many people to name, but my eternal gratitude goes out to all who have played a role in the protection of this great ancient redwood, my best friend and greatest teacher.The big question is when and how will this sit come to completion. For me, the focus of saving this tree has shifted. I recognize the miracle of life in this great tree. I see the purpose a great tree fulfills (clean air, water and soil stability). Seeing, respecting and deeply understanding this purpose puts the question back on me. How can I fulfill my planetary purpose/responsibility as elegantly as this tree? I wish to leave the world more beautiful by my choices, and in pursuit of that goal I remain dedicated to the lasting preservation of this tree. However, the miracle of life I see in this tree I also see in the soaring bird, the flowing river, the wild badger and in the beating hearts of each and every person. It is the miracle of life we all share that I hope will bring us together. It is sharing that miracle with this tree and this planet that keeps my spirit fired and my will to continue strong.The death warrant these great trees face is the economic bounty placed upon them. A system of human construct (economics) drives most, if not all, the pollution, destruction and separateness our world endures while people learn and evolve. I believe us to be imaginative enough to overcome all obstacles.I see forestry issues in the light of a confused misguided species. This same confusion is what drives all the problems of today. Our fish are dying, our soil depleted, air polluted, water contaminated. We have racism, sexism, homophobia, hungry people and sick children left without care or concern. These are all tied to us -- the people that perpetuate the problem and the economic system that masks the solutions.We go to work and do things we may or may not agree with. We pollute, consume resources and generally disrespect the earth and ourselves in pursuit of the dollar. Then we go to a store where others do the same and spend our dollar without understanding or often even caring what that dollar spent may mean to the bigger picture. We who work for the forest drink coffee from deforested lands. We who care about the great trees drive vehicles while trying to get our message across, polluting the air and water as we go. I've talked to the loggers and although we don't agree, I deeply respect them because they do what they believe in. I hope as each day passes, I can more fully do as I believe. When I look at a clearcut, I see nothing to be proud of. I am ashamed for my species. My point in all this is simple. Our power to affect change is at hand every moment of every day. Our power is not in telling others how to live, but rather in living our truth and bettering ourselves and our planet in the process. I cannot expect to effectively change any part of this world except the part I have direct dominion over ... me. I stand up for my belief that ancient trees are irreplaceable, they belong to the planet, and deserve our respect. I am humbled by their presence and in turn question my choices.As I recognize my role in the devastation of mother earth, so too do I find my power to heal our relationship with this planet. I can use less. I can think of the mother first. I can want what is right for life more than anything, but for that desire to have meaning it must translate into my everyday action. However, as I make this transition to being a better person I see a process. A step by step process that has a great goal of being a giver not a taker. It is important to remember in this journey as in any, each step is a necessary motion toward that ultimate life loving goal. As we take a step today (small or large) we will be closer to our goal tomorrow.I remain dedicated until this tree has some real lasting means of preservation. The Timber Harvest Plan (THP) may expire, or, in light of the Luna event, some deal may come to fruition. Maybe our officials will do the right thing and end old growth logging. In the meantime, I sit in contemplation of who I am and what role do I want to play for this planet, and how will I pursue that goal.Write to Nate at P.O. Box 61, Kneeland, CA 95549, or check out www.upatree.net. This article is reprinted from the Earth First! Journal, POB 1415, Eugene, OR 97440-1415 USA; (541) 344-8004, fax 344-7688; earthfirst@igc.org; http://www.earthfirstjournal.org.

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