Frankfort, Kentucky, that is, the capitol of one of America’s most coal-dominated states. And tonight, the site of something really wonderful. For 72 hours, a small group of demonstrators have been holding a ‘sleepover’ in the governor’s office, refusing to leave until he agrees to take action to stop the absurd practice of ‘mountaintop removal’ coal-mining.
For those of you who haven’t visited the southern Appalachian mountains of the United States, the name is accurate–miners simply blast away the tops of mountains to get at the coal beneath, leaving them flattened stubs).
Many of the people sleeping in the governor’s office are residents of the mountainous coal country. But one of them comes from one of the state’s farming belts, near the Ohio River. He’s the great essayist, novelist, and poet Wendell Berry, in my opinion the finest writer at work in the English language, and surely the man who has done more than any other to spur the move towards local agriculture in the United States. You can read about the sit-in here (www.kentuckyrising.blogspot.com) and if you happen to be in the Kentucky area on Monday, people will be gathering at the Capitol for I Love Mountains day, and to salute the courageous crew inside.
Wendell reports that he took a copy of The Tempest with him to read. “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows” said Shakespeare in that great play–and so does the courageous stand for what’s right and proper in this world. We send our great thanks to everyone who’s taking part!