Upon returning home from our cross-country walk to Oak Flat there was no question that Emma and I would continue looking for ways to support the occupation and do what we can to help those at the forefront of protecting the sacred site.
Our belief in religious freedom and environmental stewardship were strengthened tenfold by our experiences on the road and at Oak Flat. Meeting the good people of the Chiracahua Apache Nation and the many friends of the Apaches told our hearts that we were walking on the right path.
But exactly what can we do to help? We are now almost 2,000 miles away. I wake up in the morning and think of the bright sun coming up over the ridge at Oak Flat, warming the freezing night air. The ancient oak trees stand tall, flanked by acres of shrubs and smaller plants – just as those same trees have done for hundreds and hundreds of years. I think about Oak Flat while I sit in my chilly house, warming my feet by the fire, picking through my firewood to find dry wood after one of the wettest Decembers recorded in Washington state.
What can we do? One thing is certain – whatever we do, we need to do it together. I know that together our power is greater than that of our adversary. We must be single-minded in our resolve to save Oak Flat.
The first thing I will do is continue to walk to save Oak Flat – in my neighborhood. Daily walking sets aside a time to meditate on the positive steps we can take together.
I invite you to join me, whether you walk a few miles or just out to the mailbox and back. Put on your shoes and your coat and go outside. Say Thank You for the day, the air, the sun, the rain, the birds, the mud. Think about Oak Flat while you walk. Then go home and do your work.
Step One in making a difference is to remember. It’s not enough to say, “Oh, I heard about that, so sad.” Remember what’s there now, and hold it in your heart. Remember every day that Oak Flat is still there. Then we’ll work together to keep Oak Flat safe not just for ourselves, but for those who come after us.