by Chloe Gleichman, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI
As I stood in solidarity with over a hundred of my brothers and sisters, tears ran down my face. Not tears of fear or sadness, but tears flowing from my heart, a heart deeply connected with the heart of the earth. On Monday, August 29, 2011, my heart cried with Mother Nature, for it realized that it has come to this. We are living in a time where those of us blessed with discomfort must act with boldness and sacrifice. We must jump off a cliff that has never before been scaled with no certainty of where we will land. And we must jump together, cushioned only by the realities of love and hope in an unjust and broken world.
While this weekend I was fighting to stop a pipeline, I was also acting on a deep, unsettling restlessness to defend what gives me life and hope, to destroy what destroys. I cried out of joy, for my lonely heart was finally joined by hundreds of other hearts that beat in unison, a melodious symphony of consciousness. I cried out of love for what I know and what I do not. And I cried out of recognition of the burgeoning reality of the depth and vastness of the fight for a just and sustainable world.
It was not comfortable to stand in the heat, protesting a horrific pipeline that may inevitably be approved. It was not pleasant to be handcuffed and loaded into a stuffy, claustrophobic police van. It was not my desire to hand post-and-forfeit money to a government that fails to address what is most important. But it was profoundly worth it, because it was a raw act of authenticity, not a feel-good, passive action that leaves one unfulfilled when they close their eyes to rest.
I am alive and I feel. From the depths of my soul to the blood pumping though my feeble veins, the ability to feel breeds a cognizance of the necessity of sacrifice. An unnerving prospect, I also know I'd rather be alive. And if being alive means swimming in a violent sea far over my head, then let me drown. Let me drown.