Thursday, September 15, 2011

Roots and Grassroots

Here in the U.S., the news is all about 9-11, but for me, today is six months since the massive earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan. Six months since the nuclear power plant at Fukushima Daiichi blew up.

The disasters had affected me far deeper than was apparent on a conscious level. This has been the least productive year for me in terms of anything creative. I've been happy to find comfort in watching things grow, but have done too little writing or drawing or any other kind of creating. I'm happy to just be doing ranch work. Much to Big Dog's delight, he hasn't had to listen to me complain about not having enough time for both ranch work and my own. To his slight annoyance, however, I am becoming more and more involved with our local anti-nuke group.

My little paradise here is an Eden, but just south of it lies the Canyon of the Devil -- the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Facility.

"Why did you decide to live there, so close to the nukes?" friends asked in disbelief.
Because it was the nicest ranch we looked at?
Because we thought it was better to fight the nuclear industry than to ignore it?
Because when you can't see something, you forget about it?
All of the above was true.

Of course, now, we know that whether you are 5 miles away or 50 or 150, you are just as vulnerable. There are hot spots all over Japan, some of them more than 200 miles away from Fukushima.

When I came back to the ranch in the spring, I knew I had to do something, so I contacted Mothers For Peace who was holding an anti-nuke rally in Avila in April. It was a smallish demonstration, but I got to meet and speak to a few of the members. My involvement has been gradual -- there's still a part of me that is uncomfortable being a part of any organization, and I am hesitant to be too conspicuous politically, being a guest of this country. At the same time, I have my connection to Japan as well as other skills that could be of use to MFP. Most of all, I can't bear to think our beautiful area could be destroyed in an instant. I want to wake everyone up from their complacency. I want the local farmers and ranchers, as well as the tourism industry, to join forces -- they are the ones who will be most affected should there be an accident at Diablo Canyon.

I am slowly becoming more and more of an activist and in the process, slowly being sucked back into my former life in media.

But something else is happening. While fighting the power (company) at the grassroots level, I find myself developing real roots in our community. I'm meeting people, getting involved with the community, spreading my wings, venturing out, facing new challenges (even if some of them seem small, like driving on the freeway, or at night, or in the fog.) The 3-11 triple disaster did a lot of shaking up, literally and figuratively. Has it shaken me out of my blissful solitude?

Ready for all of this to be turned into a giant Dead Zone? I'm not!

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