Sharman Chapman-Crane, a member of the Presbyterians for Earth Care Advocacy Committee, lives in Eastern Kentucky where mountaintop removal coal mining is an everyday reality. She contributed a moving reflection entitled “The Valley of the Shadow: Loving Neighbors and Mountain Top Removal” to the Presbyterians for Earth Care Carbon Fast Lenten Devotional. The reflection is also featured on the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice blog. It offers a look into what mountaintop removal has meant in Eastern Kentucky – in terms of human health, community, the health of God’s earth, and quality of life.
Sharman and I recently spoke about a proposed mountaintop removal permit in Eastern Kentucky that would threaten a local school’s water supply, as well as create other hazards to God’s people and land in the region. The region is constantly under threat to new hazards and injustices from mountaintop removal. Sharman shared a poem with me that she offered as a resource to others.
In the dark –
the mega luminaries
boast of each act of pillaging and raping
of the virgin woodlands,
the grandparent mountains,
the mother earth.
These hills that once rested in darkness
lit only by the glow of diamonds
and the crescent tiara of the night goddess,
that slept to lullabies of branches and creeks,
now tremble and seize at the sounds
of behemoths slashing and cutting, burying
that which is innocent
and has only ever been life-giving.
Ripped open – She heaves forth boulders and spoil,
her firs and hemlocks cast aside,
her rivers of light and life violated, polluted,
buried. . .
No longer a garden for fox or elk,
bear or possum, raptor or trout,
She is passing away.
Testimony in behalf of Black Mountain and statement about mountaintop removal
In the valley of winds
December 2, 2006