“Buzz-z-z-z-z-, buzz-z-z-z-z,” Blue Bear dreams about a hollow tree filled with bees making delicious honey. Blue smiles, almost able to taste the sweetness.
“Who-o-o-o plans to sleep all day to-o-o-day? Who-o-o-o?”
Blue Bear’s eyes fly open, blinking against the bright sun. Mouth watering with the memory of the dream, Blue wishes to go back to sleep.
In the leafy branches above, Wise Owl hoots the question again: “Who-o-o-o plans to sleep all day to-o-o-day? Who-o-o-o?”
“Pots o’ honey!” Blue exclaims. “I’ve overslept! Where are the cubs? They must be famished!”
“Who-o-o-o do-o-o-o you-ou-ou think has been up for hours already?”
“The cubs?” Blues asks. “But where? Have you seen them, Wise Owl? Are they okay? Have they gotten themselves into mischief?”
“They have gotten themselves into a garden,” Wise Owl replies. “Follow me.”
Blue gallops across a meadow, following the shadow of Wise Owl, who flies overhead with a great beating of wings.
“Do-o-o-o try to be a bit more quiet,” Wise Owl commands. “You-ou-ou don’t need to frighten the humans.”
Blue comes to an abrupt stop and peers beyond the bushes where Owl has landed. On the other side of the hedge stretches a wide expanse of field. Blue looks up and down the rows of humans at work in the soil. “Where is Azure? Where is Cobalt? Do the humans have them? Are the cubs okay?”
Owl points a great wing toward the edge of the field. Blue sighs a great sigh of relief at the sight of Azure and Cobalt struggling with a shovel. Ignoring Owl’s earlier warning, Blue scampers across the field to them. The humans who are working nearby pay no mind to Blue.
Still, Blue whispers upon reaching the cubs: “What are you cubs up to? What are doing with that shovel?”
“We’re planting a garden,” Azure announces.
“Not just any garden,” Cobalt adds, “but an organic garden.”
“I don’t understand…” Blue ponders aloud.
“An organic garden means we aren’t using any human-made fertilizers or pesticides to grow our vegetables,” Cobalt patiently explains. “Our garden is one hundred percent natural.”
“We’re creating a whole ecosystem,” Azure elaborates, “and everything will be healthier because of it: the plants, the soil and even the insects.”
“The honey bees?” asks Blue. “We’ve got to protect the honey bees so they can keep on making honey. But why are you planting a garden now? And why with the humans? Aren’t they supposed to be fighting to keep the pipeline away? Why are they out here digging in the dirt instead?”
“Who-o-o-o would have thought?” hoots Wise Owl, “but the humans have figured out yet another way to slow down the pipeline. They have decided to plant organic gardens. Then some bigger body of humans, some agency or administration, will declare this valley an Organic District.”
“You can’t build a pipeline through an Organic District?” Blues asks.
“A pipeline company can, but it makes the whole project cost a lot more money. A pipeline company will have to make many changes to protect the Organic District from getting polluted or damaged. These humans hope that the pipeline company doesn’t want to spend that much money or go to all the trouble, and so the pipeline will be built somewhere else.”
Blue frowns. “That may be fine for these humans, in this valley, for the pipeline to move somewhere else, but there will be bears in the next valley where the pipeline goes, and probably humans too.”
“You are exactly right,” says Owl. “But then these humans in this valley plan to travel to any other valley where the pipeline may go, and teach the humans there how to plant organic gardens.”
“See,” says Cobalt, “soon every valley will be an Organic District. And what is the pipeline company going to do then?”
“That will send them back to the drawing board, I should think,” Owl guesses. “They will have to come up with a different plan.”
Would you like to learn how to create an organic garden or farm? Go to the website below for all sorts of information on organic certification.
Three bear tongues hang so low they are in danger of tripping themselves.
“I am so-o-o-o thirsty….” complains Cobalt, taking slow steps.
Wise Owl flies circles overhead, wondering if the thirsty bears will make it to Rock Spring. The bears have walked past several dry ditches and stream beds. In past years, spring showers have fallen nearly every day and water has flowed everywhere. Wise Owl suspects that the Pipeline is responsible for this dry springtime. The pipeline construction has cracked the earth in new places and drained away water that now flows in different directions under the land. And the Earth itself is getting sicker and sicker.
“Who-o-o-o do-o-o those humans think they are,” Wise Owl ponders, “with all their thoughtless acts that harm our Earth? They are using up all Earth’s resources and polluting the air and water. They have even caused the climate to change. The Pipeline is just one of their many thoughtless acts.”
“This looks familiar…” Blue calls, interrupting Wise Owl’s thoughts. “Are we getting close?”
Wise Owl lands on a branch and points a wing. The bears stumble along in that direction. Within a few yards they at last come to a pile of rocks. A trickle of muddy water runs from beneath the rocks.
“This doesn’t look like Rock Spring,” Azure says. “Wise Owl, are you sure this is it?”
“What’s left of it, I’m afraid.” Wise Owl laments.
Where once a bold flow of clear bubbly water poured forth from underneath the rocks, now a trickle of brownish-red liquid dribbles across the nearly dry creek-bed.
“Is it safe to drink?” Blue Bear wonders aloud.
“Who-o-o knows?” Wise Owl warns.
But the bears are thirsty, and the trickle is wet. It smells bad and tastes worst, but they lap up the droplets of bitter liquid from what was once a stream-bottom.
“Where are the salamanders and minnows who used to live here?” Azure asks.
“Yes, and the crayfish and waterbugs,” Cobalt adds. “Where have they gone?”
“I don’t know,” says Blue. “This situation is a sad one. While we took our winter’s nap, too many bad things happened. We need to get back to our work of Saving the Earth. We need to stop the Pipeline.”
Now what can the bears do to Fight the Pipeline and Save the Earth? Read the next post of Blue Bear’s Mission to Save the Earth We Share to find out…
Have you missed Blue, Azure, Cobalt and Wise Owl these past several months? Black bears hibernate in the winter time, so the three bears have been fast asleep. Springtime brings the end of their hibernation: time for the bears to get back to their important work to save the Earth.
“It’s Spring! Who-o-o’s still sleeping?” Wise Owl hoots, flying through the dim light of the cave.
“Not us!” cry the Little Bears in unison. Wise Owl’s question serves as permission for them to pounce onto Blue Bear, who snores loudly.
Blue swats the air with a furry paw, missing both bear cubs. “Go back to sleep.”
Cobalt and Azure shout: “Wake up! Wake up!” as they bounce on Blue’s immense belly.
Harrumphing mightily, Blue rubs paws to eyes, slowly rolls into an upright position, then growls: “It doesn’t feel like Spring.”
Suddenly the air fills with high-pitched squeals: “It’s Spring! It’s Spring! Time for all bears to go into the sunshine. Time for all bears to get out of our cave!”
“Who said that?” cries Azure, paws over ears, for the squeals hurt little bears’ eardrums.
“The bats?” asks Blue. “Wise Owl, do you hear them? What are the bats carrying on about?”
Before Wise Owl can answer, a bat flaps across Blue’s nose. “Too crowded in here…” it squeals as it passes. In a great flurry, a cloud of bats surrounds the bears.
“Who-o-o will meet me outside?” Wise Owl asks, flying toward the mouth of the cave. All three bears scamper in the same direction.
On the hillside outside the cave, the spring sunshine feels warm and comforting on the bears’ winter-musty fur. After months in the cave’s darkness, each bear blinks against the brightness of the sun.
“I’ve never known the bats to be so inhospitable,” Blue Bear comments. “And so many of them. The inside of the cave looked like it was wall-papered with bats.”
“Who-o-o-o can blame the bats for protecting their cave? For your winter nap, Blue, you-ou-ou seem to have chosen one of the fewsafe caves in the area. Hundreds of thousands of bats have been displaced from their cave-homes. They had no choice but to bunk in your safe cave with you-ou-ou.”
“What makes our cave safer than all the rest?” Cobalt asks.
“Your cave is one of the few that has not yet been affected by the Pipeline,” Wise Owl replies. “Not yet, anyway, but who-o-o-o knows what will happen next.”
“The Pipeline…” groans Blue. “I was having such a good winter nap that I totally forgot about the Pipeline.”
“Well, those of us who-o-o-o have stayed awake all winter did not forget…” Wise Owl sighs. “We wish we could have forgotten, but the Pipeline is real and it leaves its mark wherever we look.”
“What has the Pipeline done to the other caves?” asks Azure.
“The Pipeline workers have dug huge ditches willy-nilly across the landscape. The trenches cut into the system of caves beneath the ground. Our land is honey-combed with caves, and we call this type of land ‘karst topography’. Anything that invades or injures one part of the karst topography can impact the other caves and underground streams that are connected to it. No one really knows how many miles of underground streams and caves are beneath our land or how they connect with each other. So when the workers cut into the karst, they also bring dirt and chemicals and other forms of pollution into the underground streams. Caves are not used to sunlight, so when the caves are cut open and the light gets into the caves, things start growing that don’t belong in caves. The cave environment changes, and creatures that make their homes in caves, like bats do, no longer can live there without getting sick.”
“Does the Pipeline go through the caves?” Cobalt asks.
“And there’s that,” Wise Owl answers. “Of course, if a Pipeline goes through a cave, the bats have to move because there is no more room for them, just as there may not be room for any underground trickles or streams that ran through the cave. So the water has to go somewhere else. And that can cause big problems.”
“What kind of problems?”
“Do-o-o you-ou-ou remember Forest Spring?”
“Yes! Let’s go there now!” Azure suggests. “It has the sweetest water on this side of the mountain.”
Wise Owl’s head shakes back and forth sadly. “It’s gone. It’s all dried up. The Pipeline cut off the underground stream that feeds Forest Spring.”
Big bear tears roll down Azure’s cheeks. “All this talk about water is making me very thirsty. If we can’t get a drink at Forest Spring, where can we get water?”
“Let’s try Rock Spring,” suggests Blue.
“You-ou-ou can try it,” Wise Owl replies, but I can tell you-ou-ou that it doesn’t look the same. And it’s a long walk for bears. Are you-ou-ou sure you’re up to it?”
“We need to stretch our winter legs,” Blue replies. “Let’s go.”
What will the Bears find when they reach Rock Spring? Just how much damage has the Pipeline done? Read the next post of Blue Bear’s Mission to Save the Earth We Share to find out…
“Azure! Cobalt! Suppertime!” Blue Bear calls across the forest, then awaits the patter of little cub feet. “Where are those bears?”
“Who-o-o-o-o are you looking for?” hoots Wise Owl from somewhere above in the uppermost tree branches.
“The cubs, of course!” Blue sputters. “They disappear for hours at a time, every time I turn around. I’ve baked us a yummy honey-baked acorn loaf for supper. It’s getting cold.”
“O-o-o-o-o yes,” Wise Owl speaks up. “They dropped by while you were napping. They asked me to tell you that they are going trick-or-treating with their human friends.”
“Trick-or-what-ing?” asks Blue.
“You know, that thing that human-children do. They disguise themselves as various creatures and go door-to-door collecting goodies from each human house in the neighborhood.”
“Do you think that’s wise, Wise Owl?” Blue asks. “Will they be safe?”
“They will probably get prizes for best bear costumes,” Wise Owl replies. “But yes, I think they are safe.”
“I know that they want to do everything they can to Fight the Pipeline. But do they have to spend so much time with the humans in order to do that?”
“It takes everyone, humans and bears, if this pipeline is to be stopped.” Wise Owl proclaims.
“Argh-h-h-h-h! Help! Help!”
Blue and Owl are jolted from their conversation by the screams of fleeing bear cubs.
“Blue! Blue! Wise Owl! Help us!” screams Azure.
“We have just seen the most frightening sight!” cries Cobalt. “We couldn’t get away fast enough.”
Blue Bear feels heart rise to throat, out of fear for the precious cubs.
“What did you see? Is it chasing you?” Blue asks.
“No, no,” pants Azure, still out-of-breath. “It’s firmly planted in place. I don’t think it’s going anywhere.”
“You got away,” Blue sighs with relief. “So what can be so frightening?”
“You have to see for yourself,” Cobalt insists. “There’s no words to describe it. You have to see.”
“Where is this frightening thing?” asks Blue.
“Up the road, past the houses on the side of the mountain. You can’t miss it. Maybe Owl can lead you there.”
“Let’s stick together,” Blue suggests. “If it can’t go anywhere, as you say, then Owl and I should be able to protect you.”
Wise Owl launches into the night sky. With sharp eyesight, following the winding road up the mountain past the houses is no problem. Blue and the cubs scurry along the road, listening for the flap of great wings above to guide their way.
Ahead Blue sees great purple eyes staring out through the darkness. “That must be it,” Blue thinks. As the three bears draw closer, Blue sees a tall shape with flowing black robes and great white claw-like hands reaching out into the night, ready to grab small bear cubs or little children.
“Stay behind me,” Blue orders the cubs. “I can see why you’re frightened. That’s about the scariest creature I’ve ever seen!”
Azure peeks from behind Blue. “No! That’s not what frightened us! That’s nothing! What we saw was much much scarier! And it was right outside our new friend’s house.”
“Listen!” Cobalt shushes everyone. Through the dark woods comes the sound of sobbing.
“That’s our friend!” Azure says. “We have to help our friend.”
With Wise Owl leading the way overhead, the three bears gallop up the road to the next house. By the side of the road, in front of the house, a little girl sits on the ground wiping her eyes and wailing.
“Is she hurt?” Blue whispers. “What should we do? I don’t know how to comfort human children.”
“There it is!” Cobalt points. “The most frightening thing!”
Beside the little girl is a sign stuck into the grass in front of house. On it is the number “125.”
“O-o-o-o-o, I see,” hoots all-knowing Wise Owl. “125 is very scary. Not as bad as 50 perhaps, but still threatening.”
“What are you hooting about?” Blue shakes head. “Will someone please explain?”
“The Pipeline! The Pipeline, what else?” Azure squeals.
“Through–o-o-o here,” Wise Owl explains. “The signs mean that the Pipeline is slated to pass right through here. The path that the big tractors will make is 150 feet wide. Everything within that 150 feet will be destroyed. This little girl’s house sets at 125 feet. That means when the big tractors come to build the Pipeline, they will tear her house down. Very frightening indeed.”
“Oh,” Blue says, trembling in fear. “Now I understand. Another home lost to the Pipeline. A homeless human child. The Pipeline is a big, mean, frightening thing. And it’s not going away.”
Blue Bear woke late and stretched. How strange it seems to be back in this Valley that was once Blue’s home. Wait! Where are the cubs? Blue feels panic and looks around wildly! Then from behind some bushes comes the sound of little bear-giggles.
“Good morning!” Blue calls out, as the two cubs come into view. “Is it my imagination, or do your coats look bluer than usual?”
“Silly Blue,” giggles Azure. “It’s blue paint.”
“Blue paint?” Blue responds. “What are you doing with the blue paint?”
“Well, I’m painting with it,” Azure explains, holding up a blue-dipped paint brush. “But Cobalt is drinking it.”
“Cobalt, is that true?” Blue worries that the little cub will be sick. “Are you drinking the paint?”
Cobalt removes paws from muzzle to reveal a creamy white ring circling a little pink mouth. “Not drinking the paint,” Cobalt protests, “drinking the buttermilk.”
“The paint is made with buttermilk, and it’s slowed our whole project down, with Cobalt drinking the milk before we can get the blue pigment mixed in,” Azure complains.
“But I don’t understand,” says Blue, still rubbing sleep from eyes. “What project? What are you painting?”
“Who-o-o-o knew? Who-o-o-o knew?” Wise Owl hoots, swooping to land in the oak tree that Blue has been sleeping under. “Who-o-o-o knew that right away Azure and Cobalt would find a project to fight the pipeline? They are painting trees blue in hope of keeping the pipeline away.”
“What?” asks Blue. “Are pipelines afraid of blue trees?”
“No, but blue trees are Art,” Azure patiently explains. “And the humans believe that if they create Art along the pipeline path, then the pipeline will have to go away. You can’t destroy Art for the sake of planting a pipeline.”
“Is that true, Wise Owl?” Blue asks their friend who usually knows the answers to all questions.
“The humans are hopeful,” Owl replies. “They call it the Blued Trees Project. They say that the more trees that get painted, the more visible and powerful this Artwork will be. They say that the Art is copyrighted and that copyrighting offers some protection. I guess it will all end up in the humans’ court system, to get tested. Some judges will have to decide if Art really can stop a pipeline. But in the meantime, it certainly doesn’t hurt to try.”
HELP MAKE WAVES: The more trees that get painted, the more visible and powerful this artwork will be. Already, others have started painting trees on their property. Any willing landowner may join the “Greek Chorus,” as part of the Blued Trees Symphony, by painting a wave “note” on one tree or more, preferably roadside for visibility. You may be along the route of the AIM pipeline, or another pipeline. How beautiful will it be to see these trees popping up all over the Northeast, and how will the public respond when they learn what these mysterious painted trees symbolize?
Send a photo of your “blued” tree with GPS coordinates to Rahmani, who will continue — throughout 2015 — to gather and map all the Blued Trees.￼￼ Contact: Aviva Rahmani 207 863 0925 or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Painting trees to make waves in the forest with Nancy V., Earth Guardians: Sam, Aidan and Christian. The Blued Trees launch site is in the corridor for the proposed Algonquin pipeline expansion for “natural” gas that would be installed 105′ from the Indian Point nuclear plant facility in Peekskill, NY. http://www.artcop21.com
iew image | gettyimages.coHow the Blue Bear Series came about:In 2000, troubled by a number of potentially unwise ecological decisions within my community, I wrote a chapter book, BLUE BEAR, that I hoped would reach local young children. My dream has been that Blue Bear stories will increase awareness of some of the same issues that local adults have overlooked. In these stories, Blue Bear and Blue Bear’s Mother encounter a variety of environmental challenges with often unsettling outcomes, in parallel to environmental outcomes in my own community.
How the BLUE BEAR series came to be:
In 2000, troubled by a number of potentially unwise ecological decisions that I witnessed within my community, I wrote a chapter book, BLUE BEAR, that I hoped would reach young children. My dream has been that BLUE BEAR stories will increase awareness on some of the same issues that their parents have overlooked. In these stories, Blue Bear and Blue Bear’s Mother encounter a variety of environmental challenges and the outcomes are often unsettling, in parallel to outcomes in my own community.
From time to time, another issue with ecological impact has arisen, and I’ve dashed off additional chapters. Unfortunately, I never found an effective way to get BLUE BEAR into the community. After writing the last chapter in 2006, I put BLUE BEAR to bed.
Now my community faces what is possibly our biggest environmental issue so far: the planned installation of a 42″ diameter high-pressure pipeline to transport fracked gas from West Virginia across hundreds of miles. To address this infraction, BLUE BEAR needs to come out of hibernation. And so, in bringing BLUE BEAR to this blog, I hope that children up and down the proposed route and across the country can listen and consider ways to save this earth that we all share.
Blue Bear Journeys Home and Discovers the Sad Truth about Pipelines
Blue Bear waits on the edge of a misty meadow. The last rays of sun have hidden behind a distant mountain. Blue taps a paw against the ground. Where is Wise Owl? What is taking the old white owl so long to reach their meeting spot?
Just then Blue hears the whoosh of great wings in the tree above and looks up in time to watch Wise Owl land on a sturdy branch. Wise Owl grasps onto it with mighty talons and calls into the night: “Who-o-o-o-o is there?” Wise Owl usually starts with this same question.
“Silly Owl, it’s Blue Bear, of course. What’s taken you so long? Are you ready to leave?”
“Oh Blue, y-o-o-o-u do not want to undertake this journey. I say, stay. Stay. Y-o-o-o-u will not like what y-o-o-o-u see along your travels.”
“I know that the world has changed since we last made this trip eight or nine years ago. But I’ve promised the cubs. The cubs want to see where I grew up.”
Suddenly Blue is knocked to the ground as two frolicking bear cubs climb the blue-black fur, planting bear kisses and laughing as they scramble up Blue’s body.
“Is it time for our trip?” Azure Bear squeals.
“Can we go now?” asks Cobalt Bear.
“Patience, patience,” Blue replies. “Wise Owl is not convinced that you want to make this trip.”
“We do! We do!” squeal the two cubs.
“Who-o-o-o will cry when sad things are seen?” Wise Owl hoots. “Who-o-o-o will beg to come back home?”
“Not me!” proclaims Azure.
“Not me!” announces Cobalt. “I want to see the Great World.”
Wise Owl’s head turns from one side around to the other side and back again. The bears know this means that Wise Owl does not agree with them, but will likely go along with their plan.
And so the four start on their journey. They stay to the meadows and woods along the winding roadway that curves through the National Park where they live.
Before long, Cobalt Bear asks, “Are we there yet?”
“Who-o-o-o does not know how to be quiet?” Wise Owl calls down to them. “Y-o-o-o-u must stay alert on this next part. We go from one national park to the next. We must cross a bridge. We must watch for cars.”
“If there are cars on the bridge, we will have to hide in the bushes until they pass,” Blue explains.
They follow a curve in the road and see the bridge. They watch the lights of a truck make a path across the bridge, then disappear around another curve. As soon as the truck’s lights are out of sight, the three bears run across the bridge, as Wise Owl flies overhead.
“Are we there yet?” Cobalt Bear asks again.
“Who-o-o-o said that?” calls Wise Owl. “Who-o-o-o needs to be quiet and not say a word?”
Azure swats at Cobalt and giggles. Blue turns around to see if the cubs are coming.
The bears trudge through the night. The little cubs grow tired. They never have walked this far in one night. They think of Wise Owl flying overhead, along with the owl’s warnings that they must be quiet, and they do not say a word. But their heads hang closer to the ground.
Blue calls to Wise Owl. “I think we have to stop. The cubs are slowing down. I think they need to rest.”
“Y-o-o-o-u need to keep walking,” Wise Owl warns. “This is not a good place to rest.” But Cobalt Bear already has collapsed on the ground and is snoring softly. Azure drops beside Cobalt and cuddles up close.
“Too late,” Blue calls. “Besides, this place doesn’t look so bad. We’re hidden from the road. What danger can there be?”
“Y-o-o-o-u will see. Y-o-o-o-u will see at first light. Y-o-o-o-u will not like what you see.”
Blue yawns, too tired to think about Owl’s warning. “We’ll see in the morning…” Blue mumbles, then drifts to sleep.
“Roar—rumble—screech—grind—grate—roar—tremble—tremble.” It all comes at once: this great grinding noise and trembling of the earth.
“What is it? What is it?” cries Azure, jumping up, paws over ears.
“Save us! Save us!” screams Cobalt, crawling behind Blue.
“Not again!” exclaims Blue. “Shhh, my sweet cubs. That is the sound that earth-moving tractors make. I remember from my youth.” Blue looks up into the trees, searching for Wise Owl.
“Who-o-o-o‘s looking for me? D-o-o-o y-o-o-o-u understand now why I didn’t want to stop here?”
“Why are they here?” Blue asks. “These tractors?”
“A project. A pipeline project,” Wise Owl replies. “The humans are planting an enormous pipeline in the ground.”
“Are pipelines like seeds?” asks Azure. “Are the humans trying to grow other pipelines from the one they’re planting?”
“Y-o-o-o-u might think that, because suddenly the humans have gotten greedy about planting pipelines wherever they can. If these things multiply, the earth will be nothing but pipelines.”
“How can they plant a pipeline here?” asks Blue. “Isn’t this national park land? Isn’t it protected?”
“Who-o-o-o knows how they can? These pipelines companies can build pipelines wherever they please. There’s no stopping them.”
“Let’s get the cubs out of sight, before any of those humans in the huge tractors see us.” Blue warns the cubs: “Azure! Cobalt! Run as fast as you can. All the way across that ugly stretch of bare dirt, into the woods on the other side.”
The cubs run as fast as they can. When Blue catches up with them, they are both panting.
“That was such a long way to run and so much mud!” Azure pants and holds up one muddy paw.
“Where did the trees go? Why did they cut down so many trees?” Cobalt asks.
Blue, too, is short of breath but manages to huff: “Do…do you know…know the answer, Wise Owl?”
“Do-o-o I know? I know that the humans make a wide swath through the forest. They cut down hundreds of trees, cause rocks to slide and fill the streams and rivers with mud and debris. And from what I have seen so far, they do very little to clean up after themselves.”
“Let’s get away from this place!” Azure cries.
“Too much ugliness!” Cobalt yells. The cubs take off at a gallop. Blue and Wise Owl follow after them.
The bears and the owl have traveled through much of a second night.
“I don’t remember the way as well as I hoped,” Blue tells Wise Owl. “I know that we don’t follow this protected parkway for the entire journey. But I don’t remember where we turn off. Nothing looks familiar.”
“Y-o-o-o-u will see that it’s not much farther. There is no chance that we will miss the turn.”
“Why is that?” asks a curious Azure Bear.
“Y-o-o-o-u will see,” hoots the Owl. “Y-o-o-o-u will see.”
The sun comes up over their shoulders, casting its rays across another wide expanse of barren earth. Once-tall trees lie on the ground, scattered every which way. Far away they can hear the rumble of large tractors.
“It’s happening here too,” Blue groans. “How far does this pipeline travel?”
“This is a different one,” Owl explains. “This one is called ‘Mountain Valley’. The other one is called ‘Atlantic Coast’. They each run for hundreds of miles.”
“I just want to get back to that valley where Mother Bear and I once lived,” Blue sighs. “How do we get there from here?”
“More bad news, I’m afraid,” says Owl. “This pipeline runs along the path you once walked to get here. We will have to follow this ugly thing all the way back to your valley.”
“Does this pipeline run right through that valley?” Azure asks Owl.
But Blue does not want to hear Owl’s answer. Blue places paws over ears and trudges along, aghast at the ugly sights. For the rest of the day, they scramble over rock slides and tree trunks.
“I am so thirsty,” Cobalt pants.
Wise Owl flies hither and yon looking for a stream that hasn’t been filled with mud or covered over with tree trunks, but no fresh water can be found. Hungry, thirsty, covered with dust, finally the bears can go no farther.
“Y-o-o-o-u may as well rest here,” Wise Owl says. “You are back in your valley.”
“None of it looks familiar,” Blues sighs with great sadness.
“Where are the places you told us about?” Azure asks.
“Y-o-o-o-u know that all your life, I have dozed in the branches overhead while Blue has lounged with you in the shade and told you stories about this valley. And y-o-o-o-u will remember that a lot of sad things happened here…”
“Stupid humans did stupid things here,” Cobalt interrupts. “They chopped down fruit trees and poisoned water.”
Azure chimes in: “They got rid of the last salamander of its kind.”
The cubs continue taking turns with parts of the story that Blue has told them: “They smashed a perfectly good cave.”
“They destroyed forests that were hundreds of years old.”
“They chased away whole families of bears, including our cousins.”
“They dug up a stream.”
“They made a family of beavers go away.”
“Y-o-o-o-u are correct,” says Owl, “they did all that. But eventually they got wiser, some of them did. Yet as wise as they’ve grown, they haven’t been able to stop this pipeline.”
While Wise Owl has been talking to the cubs, Blue has been looking around. “Those houses over there….they look familiar. I believe this is the subdivision where Mother Bear and I lived the winter we couldn’t find food. The houses were new then. The humans had destroyed so much of the forest to make way for their new houses, that we couldn’t find food and we had to eat from their garbage cans and bird feeders. That was the worst of times.”
“Is this where the stupidest of the humans live, then?” asks Azure.
“Y-o-o-o-u may think that,” Owl replies. “But actually, these humans have made it their mission to get wiser. They are working hard to stop this pipeline in its tracks.”
“Can they do that?” Cobalt wonders. “Can the humans stop the pipeline?”
“Here we go again,” sighs Blue. “We all live here, on this earth. Why can’t we all work together to save it?”
“But what can we do?” asks Azure.
“Do-o-o-o? What can y-o-o-o-u do? Everyone of us can d-o-o-o-o something…” WHAT CAN AZURE DO?