Being a revolutionary is hard work. It's even harder when you've slept 29 out of 30 nights in a tent in the rain, wind, or cold (or worse, a combination of all three). Have you ever camped out for a month? If so, you might realize how difficult it is to keep a clean camp, especially if you have kitchen facilities and different people coming and going all day. At the mo, I am sulking because I am not happy with the condition of the camp and am a bit embarrassed to play tour guide for curious passersby. With the setbacks we've had from the weather, especially the 60+ mph gusts of wind, our camp has seen better days in the month that it has been established in a park next to Bellingham Bay. Half of our tents are gone. Our community tent isn't adequate, requiring that it be lowered every time the winds come up (and sometimes requiring a harried run after items blowing away at two o'clock in the morning). We have no routine for making the tent weather-proof, so every time we have to adjust it for windage, the fodder in the tent (snacks, miscellaneous dishes, papers, blankets, and other stuphs) keeps getting moved around, misplaced, relocated, moved to off-site storage, thrown away, or just plain lost. We've been talking (and talking and talking) about acquiring a new structure, but so far, it's just that...talk.
Frankly, I'm a bit jaded and wonder if we'll just fall apart from lack of motivation in a leaderless movement. I'm awaiting [in abundantly grateful mode] the delivery of a small yurt (six feet in diameter, not the one pictured that is a traditional Mongolian yurt, or ger) that a friend has told me I can have; it needs repair, but I'm confident that I can make it work. This will give me a bit more room than my considerably wee tent (my sleeping bag lies diagonally so that it will fit inside). You'd be surprised how much I will appreciate that little bit of extra wiggle room. It's my hope that, when the rest of the camp sees how functional and weather-resistant a yurt can be, they'll think about helping me to build a bigger one to use as our communal space.
I'm certain that I can create this common area, used for our General Assemblies and "living room" when we're not working for the movement or shivering against the cold in our residential tents. I won't say that I've met resistance on erecting a bigger yurt, but I've deferred to the others in camp who seem to think that a structure using scaffolding as a foundation will serve better than a yurt. However comma...it's been over a week that we've been discussing this shelter, and to my knowledge, we're no closer to acquiring it than we were when it was first discussed. In the meantime, I've researched the materials necessary and checked various resources for availability of inexpensive, used components (slats or rods for the lattice wall, supports for the central ring that can be made of PVC pipe, tarps and thrift-store or donated blankets for the roof and outer walls). It won't be the quality of the yurts made by my friends or manufactured kits you can purchase, but in my humble opinion, it would serve better than the wall-less awning type of tent we currently have; the tarp walls we haphazardly hang from the sides to keep us a bit warmer do absolutely nothing to increase its stability in the wind. Yes, I'd be happier to have a yurt than a scaffolded tarp castle, but if this castle would just get built, I'd shut up about the yurt. I know I sound like a broken record, but someone has to keep harping about getting something done, else nothing will ever get done, will it? And after 30 days of camping in adverse conditions, it's getting easier to harp about things that just aren't getting done. Once a mom, always a mom.
I'm currently awaiting moving into a flat here in Bellingham after living in my cozy little place in Sumas for three years; I expect to be relocating in two to four weeks. This means that I really need to spend some time there, packing and preparing. However comma...every time I leave camp, I feel guilty, thinking that I may be needed there. Our population has dwindled with the nasty winter weather that keeps getting thrown at us; there aren't enough of us as it is to have the camp manned 'round the clock. I have to wonder if this is a point that the other Occupy encampments have reached...a month in, and there is talk of doing away with the camp in favor of participating in more events and actions. I don't support this, as ready as I have been in the past couple of days to just throw in the towel altogether. We need a camp. We need that symbology of sleeping in cold tents in the wind and rain to show our solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. And Portland. And Oakland. They had their camps taken from them against their will, along with their personal belongings and their very safety. And we're gonna give up because it's too hard? I have said that, even if I am the only tent left in the park, I'm not leaving. I hope I can live up to that. I'm certainly not doing this for my health. I'm here for my granddaughter. And for my kids, because I was ignorant about all the reasons I'm now part of this movement while they were growing up. For Mother Earth, who just can't take any more abuse from the oil corporations that continue to rape her of her lifeblood and nutrients.
But I am tired. And a bit melancholy. And I miss my big ol' brass bed and a lifestyle that doesn't involve waiting until right before it's too late to make it to the freezing porta-potty at three o'clock in the morning because I can barely wriggle out of the cocoon that is my WWII down mummy bag in time, the only warm place in my universe. Still, there's a revolution to be waged, and wage it, I will.