Monday, 27 of March of 2017

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Leaves From an Australian Forest Protest by Ron Fletcher

Book Review by Dennis Fritzinger

Our friends Down Under are endlessly inventive. Not only have they given us John Seed, they brought Middle Earth to the Nullica Forest. In the pages of this book we find Bilbo (Baggins), but also elves, blue fairies and the like. (Granted, Tolkien didn’t write about blue fairies, but when you meet them you’ll know what they are.)

This is a book of poems. It covers a whole campaign, at least its author’s involvement in it. The only parallel I can think of is Grasshopper’s coverage of Red Cloud Thunder, though it was spotty by comparison and didn’t invoke Middle Earth’s language at any time.

Middle Earth in Australia? Isn’t it supposed to be in New Zealand? Isn’t that where they shot the movie? True enough, but the greenies put it in Nullica Forest this time, and that’s where we find it.

Technically speaking, the poems her are formal verse — that is, they rhyme. Rhyme, as we know, is a powerful tool for creating memories. Even unexceptional poems may have a line or two that is memorable thanks to its rhyming. The book, also, is organized like a diary. We are introduced to the author first, and then important actors in the story. Even the title harks back to an earlier piece of Australia by a similar name.

Opening the covers of the book we quickly meet a cast of familiar characters and problems — familiar to anyone who has taken part in a forest campaign, that is. There are moments of heartache, moments of triumph, and a good deal of humor throughout. The book is about the same length as one of the childhood classics we read when we were kids, so it’s easy to get through.

Into the Sky

When spirits are thrown down from on high
Lift them straight back into the sky,
For a phoenix is born from within our loss,
Hold onto your faith but don’t carry a cross.
For we have the strength, at the end of the day,
And the power within us, to walk our own way;
In the depths of despair we will never lose hope,
No matter how high or how steep the slope.
So if blown by the storm or oppressed by the man
Dust yourself off and make a new plan,
Keep treading the path that makes you feel whole,
Though rocky and steep, it is good for the soul.

— Ron Fletcher


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