Last Saturday, the Rolling March – an action in which a mock pipeline traveled across the state along the line of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline and in which signatures were collected – arrived at the pipeline’s terminus in Dracut, where a rally was held. Team East, the team that has been working hard to create relationships and support change in Dracut, was too far away to make it to that rally. My team, however, was in Natick, about 30 miles away. In support of all of the work that has been done by our fellow Climate Summer riders and the amazing Rolling March organizers, Hallie and I agreed to hop on our bikes and speak at that rally.
The day of, we set off at 6:30 in the morning – after eating pancakes that our teammates got up and cooked for us at 5:30. The ride was absolutely beautiful. Our route was quiet and serene, the air was still cool, we encountered more cyclists than cars, and the hills were rolling. About an hour
in, I began recognizing the road and some landmarks, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I knew this area. The road bent and a body of water peaked out on our left. I shout to Hallie, “PULL OVER, IT’S WALDEN POND!!!”
Earlier this summer, when we were still at Camp Wilmot, we had to tell stories of self – a moment in time that gave us a glimpse into who we are and why we do what we do. I told a story about a difficult (albeit comical) trip I had to Walden Pond with one of my best friends, Adriene, this past March. That day, I learned about flexibility and friendship and how each makes the other easier (a lesson that has been expanded upon intensely throughout my time in Climate Summer).
Seeing Walden Pond forced me to compare my most recent experience to my previous experience there. First of all, the bike ride itself was much easier (although to give myself a little bit of credit, the roads were icy the first time around). Most important, I myself have grown a lot – I’ve become more comfortable with who I am, discovered I’m more powerful than I ever thought I could be, and have found places in which I belong.
One of those places of belonging is among people like the ones at the Rolling March. Hallie and I were spending the day with people we had never met before – people with whom Team East
has established relationships with – but they embraced us with open hearts and open minds. They made us feel comfortable despite the fact that we were nervous about representing our fellow riders who had worked so hard alongside them this summer.
That support made it easy for us to draw connections between the Tennessee Gas Pipeline and Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Pipeline, a feat that could easily be blundered since my team has spent the entire summer learning about and working on the latter. Just like we were able to draw connections between the very different communities we’ve been to this summer, the amazing and passionate people that were attending the Rolling March and rally that day proved to us that no matter what town we call home or what project we are fighting, we are united in our determination to protect our futures.