Marching In Bend II

by Bruce Patterson, May 17, 2017

On Saturday, April 29, 2017, 1,000 motley people gathered in Bend, OR @ Drake Park to march for Climate Justice. I joined them, with my spouse, Pat (age 68), and elder son, Abel (age 39).

Unlike the January Women’s March, when we stumbled through drifts in the falling snow, this time we found a place to park our car in a public parking lot. Won’t lose ourselves or the car. We off-load our signs and join the streams of others strolling toward the Bandshell. We are young and old; new parents and 30-somethings; aging hippies and leashed-in pets. No sign of the cops. Yet.

We hear voices over the speakers: “Welcome, everyone. We will march next. Let’s practice a few chants . We’ll use the rhythm of chants to pace our walk. Follow directions of March Monitors, who will show us when to cross streets. Stay on the sidewalks. Remember, non-violence is the code of the day. We’ll be marching through Wall St. business/tourist section, so show everyone the respect we feel."

I give my fish-on-a-stick to a young father. “How can I return it to you?” he asks. “Keep it. Tell your son about the old lady fisherman. Why fish need clean water.” Big grins from Mom and Dad, while Jr. sleeps in baby sling.

I spot the Sierra Club banner as we fall into a moving line. Feels safe, like sanctuary. Still no cops. Voices all around, chanting, singing “. Hell, no. We won’t go. We don’t want your fucking war!” I’m in a time warp. Women’s a Capella Chorus is singing. We Shall Overcome drifts across the crowd. Much better.

GIVE A HOOT! DON’T POLLUTE! ONCE YOU FRACK YOU CAN’T GO BACK!

THERE IS NO PLANET B! REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, RESIST!

Tourists, shoppers, diners on Wall St. watching, mostly smiling, waving, honking in support. One incident: “Fuck you!”… “No, Fuck Trump!” exchange. Others surround and isolate verbal combatants, in true non-violent manner. Still no cops. Well-disciplined, organized marchers.

Pat is short of breath. Abel asks if I want to continue after 4 blocks. I do, but will call it a day, satisfied the young will continue.

Back home, I rush on-line to see: 200,000 in D.C.; 100,000 in Boston, N.Y.C; 250,000 in Sweet Home Chicago, with many Black Lives Matter signs…

On local TV, Bend BULLETIN -- not a word. A small AP clipping inside mentions worldwide marches.

Be it ever thus.

Guess we’ll have to start our own paper.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *