Chirping Of Birds | By Seiji Koenigsberg

They arrived one day, without warning, without any hesitation. Bastards in giant white pickup trucks with giant pictures saying Green Forestry on the side drove onto my land, my beautiful land with hundreds of trees with hundreds of years of age. They marched into my forest and started planning the removal of my trees. I walked up to them angrily, questioning, “What the hell are you doing on my land? You have no permission to be here.”

Instead of answering, one of the workers, wearing a bright orange vest with a blue rain jacket and a red pair of khakis (a terrible choice of color if you ask me), came up to me and looked at me as if I was a child and they were an adult, and sternly said,  “We need to put a pipeline from here to the ocean to filter crude oil. There’s no point in resisting. It’s already been decided. There’s nothing you can do about it.” That hit me so hard that my legs felt like Jell-o for a couple seconds.  I didn’t know what to say. I was in shock. My forest, with all its beauty, was going to disappear. Realizing it wasn’t worth my time to pick a fight with them, I started walking back to my house. On the way back I heard the birds chirp louder than normal, as if they sensed danger to their home and was warning everyone else. I walked past the trees that would maybe not be there in a couple days. I sat in my house watching those bastards plan.

That night, I ate sushi with salmon so fresh that it seemed to have just been caught that day. It would’ve been good had those people not still been at my house. I sat down at my computer and decided to record myself explaining what was happening to let the world know and not let my story be silenced. I opened the computer and pressed the power button very delicately and waited for the classic sound of an Apple computer to turn on, and I started to record my story.

“Hello my name is Taylor Brown, and here is my story. I’ve lived in my house ever since I was three years old, and currently I’m the only one living in it. Just today these people from Green Forestry, who I have never seen or heard of before today, came to my house and…” I felt a tear drop down my face. I knew it was inevitable that I was going to get emotional but I had hoped that it was going to be toward the end of the video. I decided to continue with the recording.

“… they planned the removal of my trees, and when I asked what they were doing, They said that they were clearing the land of trees so they could put a pipeline from here to the ocean.” I waited a couple seconds trying to control my emotions and I continued again.

“ I don’t expect anything to come of this but I didn’t want my story to be silenced so here it is, my story.” I stopped the recording and uploaded it to Facebook. I then turned off my computer and rested in my hammock in my room, trying to stay calm and relax for a little bit. About an hour later, I checked Facebook to see if anyone had seen my video, and sure enough only a couple people had seen it. But one comment caught my eye. It said that they would show up tomorrow in solidarity and try to prevent the removal of my trees at all cost. That comment filled me with happiness and with that happiness I went to sleep. The next day I wake up earlier than I had in several months. five o’clock is way to early for any human being to be awake. But I did it anyway because I wanted to see my trees for as long as I could before they got cut down.  At around seven, a group of five people showed up at my house. When I asked who they were one of them came up to me and said, “Hello, I saw your video from last night and couldn’t help but feel like we needed to help, so I got a couple of my friends to come support you with me.”

“Ok thank you so much,. Feel free to leave or stay for as long as you want.” I responded. I offered them something to eat but they said they were fine. Promptly at nine o’clock, we started to hear a terrible sound. Metal hitting metal, making screeching sounds so bad it seemed to be from a different world. The five people and I stood in the driveway preventing the trucks from entering. After about an hour of a stalemate, the trucks reluctantly left. Then the same person said to me

“This is a lot bigger than I thought  it would be. Listen, I have some connections to big forest conservation protest groups who are very experienced in this area. I can have them come and help.” I said that sounded like a great idea. They then left and I spent the rest of the day in my hammock in the forest. The next day there were 10 people, then 37, then over a hundred. Within a week, a couple groups came and they brought all sorts of equipment and I was shocked to see how much could be planned in such a short amount of time. By the time the people in the white pickup trucks arrived we had around 500 people, and as soon as they arrived all 500 of those people erupted in boo’s telling them to get the fuck off my land. It was really a surreal moment to see all these strangers that never knew I existed until the day prior show up and care so much about my trees. The people in the white trucks didn’t know what to do and so they left. The entire crowd cheered very loudly and we all celebrated. The next day I woke up yet again at five and people showed up yet again at six. The people in the white pickup trucks showed up at nine just like the day before and we didn’t allow them to get anywhere and they eventually left again. This happened for months and made national television. Eventually, the state government sent out a message saying:

“We have decided to listen to the will of the people, and those people have spoken. They stated very clearly that they do not want a pipeline running through their lands. And so, we have decided to terminate the pipeline plans. From henceforth, there will be no pipelines running through this beautiful land.”

As soon as I read this to the crowd, we all exploded in cheers. We had spent several months working on getting rid of Green Forestry and it felt amazing to have the government step in and stop it for us. We then all took down the equipment very quickly and everyone left looking very proud of their accomplishments.

Once everyone left, I walked into my forest, which somehow was still standing, and sat there, listening to the birds chirp with joy.

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