This is not the sort of thing that I usually post, but sometimes a writer just needs to write. This morning was one of those times.
The sun was just peeking over the horizon as he crested the top of the familiar ridge. This place was his home. He had lived and worked here for many years; cutting wood on the slopes, and chasing deer down in the swamp below. Every rock, every little spring run stream tumbling down the side of the mountain, every fold in the land; each was as well known to him as the wrinkles on the back of his ancient hand. Each was as comforting as the soft wool of his well worn red check hunting shirt.
But as he surveyed the familiar surroundings, something was different today. Stepping out of the tree line, he found his feet on the graveled surface of a new road. All along this new road strange equipment and materials lay strung out for miles. There were tractors; like the Lombards that he had driven many a mile in the snow, toting wood–only these were much larger, some with tracks and some with wheels as tall as a man. There were great digging machines; like the steam shovel that they used over at the town gravel pit, only larger, and very strange looking. And all along the roadway lay immense steel tubes, and next to them, giant arms, reminiscent of the blades on an airplane, like he had seen up close during the war in Europe.
It was all very strange and unexpected, up here on this ridge that had been his back yard since his earliest childhood days. Looking far away toward the river where the early morning mist still hung, something caught his eye. It was a small group of people. They were holding signs, and many of them were dressed in the same type of red plaid shirt that he himself was wearing. Others were wearing red checked hats, or scarves, and still others wore armbands or little squares of the material pinned to their coats.
It was all very strange, and he could not comprehend the meaning, at first. Just then a large truck, the largest truck he had ever seen, came thundering along the roadway carrying one of those giant blades. Through the cloud of dust he could clearly read the door in the early morning light; “I Support Wind Power.”
“Wind power,” he repeated, questioningly, as the truck roared past. “Is that what’s going on here? Don’t these damn fools know that that technology went out with the invention of the water wheel?”
Shortly, he found himself down on the flat, wandering near the edge of the crowd. They were men and women, young and old, and even a few children, all dressed in red and black. No one seemed to notice as he mingled with the crowd. Here and there he caught bits of the conversation–“That last Governor sold us out.” “The Legislature dropped the ball.” “Did you know that this outfit sends all its profits back overseas?”
He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. If it wasn’t for the familiar ridgeline above him, and the river next to him, he would have wondered if he was still in his native Maine. As he moved deeper into the crowd he heard more conversation–“This is just the beginning.” “The people won’t stand for it.” “Our new Governor will make changes.” “We will all stand together and demand that the State do the right thing!”
This made him feel some better. Though the destruction, and the corruption that had led to it, were apparent, even to his old eyes; he had hope. As long as there were Citizens like this ready to stand up, speak up, and demand that the State do the right thing, then there was still hope. As long as people remembered the old traditions, remembered their connection to the land, and remembered to simply do the right thing, then there was still hope. He still couldn’t comprehend how his old stomping grounds had been turned over to such unwarranted destruction, but as long as there were people like this ‘Red Plaid Brigade’ who were ready, willing, and able to stand up and demand change, then he still had hope for the future of his home State.
He was still contemplating all of this as he wandered along the bank of the river. He knew this spot well; it was a dangerous place for a man riding the logs during the Spring Drive. Many a season had seen the long logs jammed at this very bend, and many a River Man had seen his own close calls here, in the ancient shadow of that newly scared ridge. He was drawn to a large boulder, a boulder that had been carved by the crude tools of a Woodsman into a monument for a fallen friend. It seemed so familiar, and yet, he couldn’t quite place it. He reached out to trace the faded inscription with his finger; and just then, there was a massive explosion up on the ridge.
When the dust settled and the bits of rock stopped falling, another turbine pad had been blasted into the mountain, and the man in the red plaid shirt had faded back into the mist……………..