In fighting our battle we use all kinds of data and testimony and records and Freedom of Information Act requests and videos and photographs - whatever it takes. But what drives us more than anything is passion.
It's a passion that cannot be bought or paid for. It comes from loving something and knowing it's been taken from you. It comes from having the facts and the truth on our side. It comes from the heart.
Sometimes we step back and write down our non-technical, non-legal thoughts, perhaps as a way of trying to make sense of all that we are fighting for.
So this section is for those expressions. It's why we are going to win. It's from the heart.
Michael Corleone: Maybe so -- but it occurred to me. The soldiers are paid to fight -- the rebels aren't.
Hyman Roth: What does that tell you?
Michael Corleone: They can win.
Thoreau's "Ktaadn" Threatened with Wind Turbines
by Brad Blake
I was born in and grew up in Lincoln, with the omnipresent Mt. Katahdin just a ways up the Penobscot River. I was drawn to it at an early age and now, in my old age, can only savor the indelible views from high upon the mountain from the memory of dozens of hikes to the summit. In my teens, I discovered, much to my delight, the wonderful writings of Thoreau. How thrilled I was to read his account of climbing “Ktaadn” and his words have stayed with me forever. In “The Maine Woods”, Thoreau writes:
“The tops of mountains are among the unfinished parts of the globe, whither it is a slight insult to the gods to climb and pry into their secrets, and try their effect on our humanity. Only daring and insolent men, perchance, go there. Simple races, as savages, do not climb mountains, — their tops are sacred and mysterious tracts never visited by them. Pomola is always angry with those who climb to the summit of Ktaadn.” Governor Baxter understood; along with thousands of other Mainers, I understand. Ironically, though both former Governors King and Baldacci climbed Katahdin, they gained not the wisdom of the Great Spirit that dwells there, for they advocate blasting away the mountains and tearing them asunder for the folly of wind power.
As many times as I climbed Katahdin, the thrill of breaking out of the forest at the timberline to see the craggy cathedral above me and the vast expanse in all directions never failed to inspire me. This is truly a special place. In all directions are verdant forest carpeting rolling ridges and smaller mountains, interspersed with lakes. As Thoreau described: “I could see the country eastward, boundless forests, and lakes, and streams, gleaming in the sun, some of them emptying into the East Branch. There were also new mountains in sight in that direction.”
Yes, I have shared with Thoreau, but I have angst about the “Ktaadn” view of today and the future. Now, when one looks to the northeast, the 28 wind turbines at Mars Hill Mt. are visible and more are proposed for #9 Mt. closer to Katahdin. Southeast are 55 wind turbines at Stetson, Jimmey and Owl Mountains; in the same direction just 20 miles away, are the 40 wind turbines on Rollins Mt and Rocky Dundee ridges in Lincoln. Under construction (in 2014) are 50 taller wind turbines in Oakfield.
Most ominous for “Ktaadn”, though, is the targeting of every ridge that rises out of the eastern and southern slopes of the East Branch of the Penobscot River, at the very foot of Maine’s Greatest Mountain. First Wind proposes a massive project in Molunkus and Medway, featuring 570 ft tall turbines--just 15 miles from the border of Baxter State Park! Every ridge where a short power line can connect to the major power line coming from the massive Oakfield project into the grid at Chester will be future fodder for wind developers. There is already a met tower on Kelly Hill in Staceyville, with talk of a string of wind turbines in Patten, Sherman, Island Falls, Staceyville, and Benedicta. The same will be true to the southwest, connecting into the power line from Ripogenus dam down to Mattawamkeag.
Will the future views from Mount Katahdin, considered by many to be the greatest mountain in the eastern US be 500-foot tall wind turbines with aviation lights blinking 24/7? Will being encircled by sprawling industrial blight shatter the seeming remoteness of Katahdin, such a draw for so many who are weary of urban life? My two heroes, Gov. Baxter and Thoreau, must weep that we should be such shortsighted fools to allow this to happen around “Ktaadn” or anywhere else in our beautiful and unique corner of the planet.
The following is from the "Maine Mountain Heritage Project". Please visit
the Maine Mountain Heritage Project to read more.
Every morning my second-grade classmates and I recited the pledge of allegiance followed by a near-whisper version of American the Beautiful, saving, as we did, our loud, joyous voices for the playground. For most of the day I sat at the hard-as-granite seat of my desk close to rattling windows and clanging radiators. In cold weather brittle air rushed in through the windows to balance the gushing white plumes of whistling steam that shot out of the devices like locomotives. In the spring and fall those same open windows let in lilac- or leaf-scented breezes calling us to adventures beyond the four walls of this school that perched like a benevolent, grey elephant atop a hill overlooking Mt. Katahdin.
Aah . . . Katahdin.
In all my years at Lincoln’s Ballard Hill School there was no seat, no other area in that welcoming building that I loved more than my spot in that classroom. There in the space assigned to me, I was only a glance away from the mountain that watched over my childhood. When we sang,
“ . . . for purple mountain’s majesty above the fruited plane . . .” I gave her my full attention because I was certain she was the mountain of the lyrics and, therefore, the fruited plain must be the apple trees situated on the lawn of the Catholic parsonage across the street from school.
I would happily have spent every school year of my education in that seat if it meant I could rest my chin in the palm of my hands starring toward Katahdin like a child with a first crush. Light on her hills could be as glaring as a floodlamp, or when she was shrouded in fog, as mysterious as a wedding veil. Some days grey-blue, fishing net clouds engulfed her like a captured whale, and other times her wardrobe of snow hid her completely from sight.
I am a child of Katahdin. Most every day of my life from birth until the day I left for college, I inhaled the oxygen she and her pine forests provided. I knew well her compassionate heart and sensed from the time I could pronounce her name that she was the spiritual center of Maine. Proof of this was the number of people who flocked north for summer pilgrimages. This sanctuary called its worshipers to come bearing camping gear, canoes and kayaks. They obliged and ascended past Lincoln into the wilderness where Katahdin’s spaciousness welcomed all.
Yet in all the years that Katahdin loomed in the background of my youth, I never climbed to her peak nor ventured anywhere near Knife Edge. And except for the occasional Girl Scout hike partway up her slope from Camp Natarswi, our time together did not involve direct contact, preferring as we did, to admire one another from afar. Though I lived nearly an hour away from the place her incline came to a rest on flat land, distance didn’t matter. When I listened closely I could hear her whisper to me like a tent mate in the dark, “Come rest. Sit a spell. Share with me a quiet way of being.”
Nowadays I only see Katahdin when my family returns from California or Maryland or wherever we currently reside. We turn onto the camp road narrowly cut between white birches and follow it to Pine Point, the family cottage on Mattanawcook Lake that’s been handed down one generation to the next for some 70 years. I sit on the porch and look out past tree bark and moss, across the steel-drum surface of the lake, and find her just above the horizon where she’s always been. With Katahdin in sight, stealthy loons dipping in and out of the surface of the water, and bullfrogs croaking in a nearby but secretive location, I breathe her in once more.
The oldest of old folks in Maine see no reason to leave this near-perfect state. They shake their heads in amusement at the idea that anyone would wander away when each season brings wonder and change. I agree. Only a damn fool would pack up and turn her back on this part of the state, as I so often have. I am Katahdin’s child, and while the grammar and math lessons of second grade were all but lost on me, the stillness found in her good company is what calls me home.
Ellen Synakowski, Chevy Chase, Maryland
10/22/11 - My Trip To The Northland
(from the Maine website "Real Wind Info For Me")
My Trip To The Northland
I have been to the place where the Devil Bear roams
And I’ve walked the moss covered eskers, that hide caribou bones
I’ve fed the gorbies, from the palm of my hand
And I’ve stood there at sunrise, and felt the soul of the land
I’ve seen it spread orange, and purple, and blue
Over the wild rippling waters, that each moment made new
I’ve eaten sweet berries, hand picked from the snow
And I’ve buttoned my shirt, when the wind it did blow
I know I was blessed, to visit that place
And when I finally left, it was with tears on my face
Now I am back home, far from the Northland
And I search for the words, to make men understand
How do you touch a mans soul, how do you make him feel
That the soul of the Wild is enduring and real
How do you tell him, make him understand
When he has never set foot, in that wild land
There lies the problem, that’s why we will suffer
Because modern man lives, within an unnatural buffer
His feet are removed, so far from the land
That he never has felt, the Earth’s loving hand
He doesn’t know nature, and he doesn’t know fact
And his very existence is an unnatural act
So I say to you, you should go to the Wild
Go forth and see nature, with the eyes of a child
Only then can you know, only then can you feel
The sacred connection that is ancient and real
If you could once do this, then you would understand
Why it is that I fight, so hard for the land…………….
10/27/11 - When I Lay Down To Sleep
(from the Maine website "Real Wind Info For Me")
When I Lay Down To Sleep
I lay down to sleep, but I seldom find rest
For every night while I slumber, I am put to the test
In my dreams I see things, awful and real
And I awake often wishing, that I could make people feel
Make them to realize, help them understand
Just what we are doing, to our children and land
For we are destroying, what we can never replace
And we seem able to to do it, and still keep a straight face
Most people don’t know, that what we’re doing is wrong
For deep in their hearts, they don’t carry the song
The song that our Grandfathers, held in their hearts
The song that made men, search out wild parts
I guess when your feet, are removed from the ground
Somehow your heart, is cut off from the sound
Now when I sleep, it seems that I dream
About the Indian caves, and the wild cat’s scream
About the old farmsteads, on Rocky Dundee
And about Fletcher Mountain, here watching me
I see the destruction, up at Mars Hill
And the spirits on Vinalhaven, that can never be still
I see how Freedom, Danforth, and Dixfield are losing their way
Feel the pain coming from Roxbury, Carthage, and Woodstock, and those who can’t stay
I see Mattawamkeag, and that sacred place
Where a future President went, to commune with The Grace
And the red lights up on Kibby, as seen from the cut
In the Sandy Stream Valley, are like a kick in the gut
I see all these things, and yet my eyes are shut tight
There is no longer peace, in the Maine Mountain night
And then I see Bowers Mountain, above Grand Lake Stream
And I realize that others, still share in the dream
For they came together, to stand and defend
So that one corner of Maine, could win, in the end
The battle is not over, and we must stay on guard
But those bent on destruction, are finding it hard
Finding it hard, because The People now know
That they have the power, to tell the looters to “GO”
We’ve had a big win, and that is a great thing
But The People in general, still don’t know how to sing
They don’t hear the song, it doesn’t live in their hearts
They have no real respect, for the wilder parts
They don’t understand, they really don’t know
That the ‘Green’ they promote, means death, although slow
And so while we rejoice, that Bowers breaths free
There is still no escape, for those such as me
When I close my eyes, there will be no rest
Those things will still haunt me, and perhaps, that is best
For we must never forget, that if we sleep sound
Those bent on destruction, will keep gaining ground
12/9/11 - Maine - The Way Life Used To Be
(from the Maine website "Real Wind Info For Me")
Maine–The Way Life Used To Be
I see a time long ago, when the massive wall of ice was still a living memory, and the northern forest was as yet just a promise. During this time, the People Who Held The Red Earth Sacred, came to what what we now call Maine. They traversed the Mountains and explored the waterways. They left their shell heaps to mark their coastal campsites, and they left their fire pits and spear points to mark the river crossings where they hunted the migrating caribou herds. They were Maine’s first miners as well. They quarried the stone from Kineo, and the outcroppings near Munsungan Lake, and they made some of the finest stone tools ever seen. They were also Maine’s fist traders, often trading this material to other Peoples far to the north and south. And yet, they showed so much care for the land that sustained them, that after thousands of years of occupation, today we can hardly find a trace of their existence. They explored the land, taking what they needed, but never dreaming of destruction for the sake of personal wealth.
I see a time no too far in the future, when the mighty Mountains have all been blasted into submission, the waters have been poisoned, and the animals are all gone. I see pavement and power lines and buildings. And I see massive towers waving their arms on every bit of high ground. I see a society that, after only a few hundred years of existence, has done massive and irreparable harm. They have made their mark. Future generations will not forget them. They will not be able to. Every time they look outside and wonder where the animals are—every time they wonder why they must filter the poisons out of their drinking water—every time they see the rain carry the loose dirt and rock off the Mountains—every time they see the sun rise behind the rusting hulk of a wind turbine—every time they walk up on a Mountain and see the marks of blasting and bulldozing—every time they come across the rotting remains of a rural home—every time they notice that no one comes to spend money in their once beautiful State….
At these times, the People will remember. They will remember the promises that were made to their Grandfathers, and they will remember the reality of the destruction that followed. They will remember those who were responsible for the death of a region, and a way of life, and a People. And, they will remember Maine—the way life used to be.