When abuse is the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the dirt in which we plant our potatoes, we cease to see it. I ask that you sit with me for a few and read a story about sharing.
About 25 years ago my mom may not have felt bold enough to walk away from living in a house with my dad if she did not have two people willing to take in her and her four children. The harmful behavior we were leaving was modeled to my dad as a child in the way his dad treated his mom, and then he entered into the cycle once married. This was the third time we left, but this time we really moved out.
Generational abuse is a difficult cycle to break. These helpful people we moved in with happened to be my maternal grandparents, but they could have been anyone. They shared a home with us as best they could figure. We shared in the cleaning. We shared in the cooking. We shared
Abuse is more difficult to spot if it is all you’ve ever known.
I went on a drive the other day with my friend April. There was a caravan of three cars stuffed with folks, four cars at one point, on this tour through hills and hollers. We drove for five hours with people from the heavily impacted communities of Lewis and
I saw the air being distorted by who-knows-what being vented from stacks. My eyes welled up a couple times in the backseat of Tom’s car as he pointed out different sites. There were compressor stations, frack pads, too many wells to count, bunches of marked rights-of-way for future pipeline installation, pipelines currently being installed, and a frack water purification plant.
A water purification plant sounds like a great thing, but please remember that the reason this one is needed is
“Did you notice most of the cars driving by us have out-of state-plates?” This came up twice within earshot of me. One of the tour guides also mentioned it later. It probably came up more amongst the group, but at times it was difficult to hear those that were further away due to
Instead, the land and water that is their home, and the bodies in which they reside, are becoming more impoverished, and more toxic. Now they need more health care that they have trouble accessing without enough money, or a job that has a health insurance plan. A few, temporary jobs for local community members does not outweigh the damage done. I am sick and tired of abusers causing obscene amounts of harm, then acting as a savior in some small way while saying, “See? What would you do without me? You need me.” My response is, “We’d flourish if you stopped exploiting us. And we do not have to be grateful when you stop abusing us because you should never have done it in the first place.” But the abusers do not want a thoughtful response to their
Abuse is not only present in the destruction, but in the withholding of meaningful help. Perhaps I am more sensitive to it because of early exposure. Perhaps this has allowed me to see it where others may have grown accustomed to it. And not because our communities would choose it if healthier alternatives were more commonplace.
Destroying one’s home isn’t a natural first choice for employment when presented with better opportunities. We are surrounded by this exploitative activity all throughout our home state and a stable environment is nowhere in sight. To add more frustration, when boldness to change the situation is mustered, it is unlikely to be met by any meaningful help. None of us has come to anything without some meaningful help. Families have worked in similar jobs for generations here. More precisely, perhaps it was the experience of moving from a more abusive situation to a less abusive environment in my childhood that put things in perspective and allowed me to know that a home can be changed. The circumstances surrounding us, that will influence us, can be made different.
I knew nothing of fracking as a child. Now that I do, I know our shared home needs more stability than the abuse fracking and the extraction industries inflict upon it and, by extension, on us. I wonder what would happen if we all shared, repaired, and repurposed what we already have, what already exists, as best we can figure. Perhaps this would be a start, and from there we could come together, demand better, and help each other secure futures free from abuse.
We could stop relying on abusers that have a history of, and continue to, exploit and manipulate everything and everyone to make
The people of Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance plan to continue scheduling frack tours. Contact them at [email protected], or visit www.mountainlakespreservation.org and go to the Volunteer tab to see how you can get involved. You can also find MLPA on Facebook.
There is an important pipeline hearing tonight at 6 p.m. at Buckhannon-Upshur High School’s auditorium. Please attend and make comment. If you’d like help with the commenting process, local water protectors will be present to help guide you through the process of making your voice heard.