The fog was thick as the morning broke on the Port of Tacoma. It was also incredibly cold. News had started to trickle out about kayaks crossing the Hylebos Waterway and approaching the site where Puget Sound Energy (PSE) are building their Liquid Natural Gas facility.
As we woke up on Monday 11th December to this developing story, we made our way to the scene. Dakota Case arrived first and started the NDN live stream. Two men had locked themselves down to a crane next to the half-finished – and now mammoth – storage tank.
Familiar faces from the movement began to make their way over to the site where the two water protectors had scaled the crane that lifts the giant steel wall pieces into place. Carlo Voli and Steve Way were approximately 50 feet up but hidden from sight by the deep fog. Shouts and whoops, from either side of the fence provided the early communication between allies and activists.
The fog teased us, slowly revealing the crane and the ghostly silhouettes of our protectors before hiding them again in its thick white mist.
The numbers kept arriving. Late arrivals brought respite from the bitter cold with offerings of hot coffee. Others bought breakfast sandwiches. A hallmark of this movement has always been like-minded people taking care of each other.
Awareness of the battle to defeat the fracked gas plant has fallen on the various independent media that always seem to be present. Corporate media, including local news outlets, showed little interest.
Today was different. Large winter coats with sharp prime colors and media emblems announced their arrival. Many Water Warriors and Protectors have come to expect the local corporate news teams to not report with the knowledge needed to convey the right message. Albeit, some were excited to see them there and began pruning for their photo ops. Many prepared to tell the why, how, when and where, it was time for the world to listen.
Drums and Prayers
Puyallup Tribal Council were also represented. Tribal elders and spiritual leaders were on hand with Robert Satiacum forming a prayer circle to bless the action. The sound of drums and rattles filled the air. As the songs rang loud, the sun began to poke through the mist. At first, you could see the edges of the storage tank and the top of the crane. The prayer song continued with Water Warriors now thanking the Earth for the protection of the fog. As the shone brighter the cold turned to heat and we could finally see our heroes.
Chatting During Fog Protection
Before the fog lifted, however, we all were able to check into the welfare of Carlo, 52 and Steve, 72 yrs old. We spoke with them on our live feed via a phone link. We heard they were in good spirits and planned to stay there until the work day was over. That they did and, fittingly for the members of 350.org it was 3:50 pm when they were safely helped down from the crane and arrested.
The goal today was awareness and solidarity. Awareness was achieved and then some. Marilyn and Cynthia of the Super 6 who were in court today for the movements first lockdown back in May and must have felt pride as they watched the news roll in from the Port.