We’re happy to share this guest blog post by Kathy Selvage. Last month, Kathy traveled to Florida to speak at Gainesville Loves Mountains. There she found engaged citizens with open hearts and minds.
I landed at the airport in Jacksonville, FL., on Saturday afternoon, April 14, 2012 at the behest of Jason Fults who invited me to be part of the second Gainesville Loves Mountains series of events and activities. The image of two smokestacks near Jacksonville, seen from high above the earth, seemed to drive their image into my chest as we descended. It haunted me for quite awhile but quickly dissipated by the warm and wonderful people I met afterward.
Saturday night was devoted to getting to know my extraordinary hosts, Jason Fults and Laurel Nesbit, and I was thankful for that time to unwind slightly before we wound ourselves up again for what has proven to be a whirlwind of events.
The very next morning, I attended service with amazing people at UC Gainesville. It was a beautiful service, amazingly inclusive, a wonderful sermon by a seemingly “too young to be a minister” young man named Vince Amil. The repetitive words from a song stuck with me: “When the worship is over, service begins.” After crossing a very inviting courtyard, we met at 11:00 in a separate room for an Adult Education Class on Mountaintop Removal. How cool is that? I left them with a book for the church library accessible to all to remind others of the consequences of burning fossil fuels in this country, the consequence that is most often left out and ignored, the consequence of the extraction process on the Appalachian region and its people. I left there knowing in my heart that these intelligent, thoughtful people would engage and continue to be creative in ways not yet imaginable by me.
Circles close quickly when we are open to others and will have heartfelt conversations with them. I met a woman in the Church who was born in Wise, VA, where I have lived nearly all my life.More ...