THE SONG OF THE EMERALD FOREST





The Song of the Emerald Forest is a short story that captures the spirit of The People's battle to save the ancient forests of Olympic Peninsula. The story is based on truth and the drama is unfolding now: the end has yet to be written. 

Created for adults as well as children, The Song of the Emerald Forest speaks through the voices of the animals whose home will be decimated unless The People protect it.


Will the Emerald Forest be destroyed?

Will The People succeed in stopping the war-makers?

Your voice will determine the answers to these questions. 



CHAPTER ONE



Once upon a time there was a beautiful valley that was so green and lush and thick with ancient trees, it was known as the Emerald Forest. 


A family of owls lived there, high in the treetops.  As Guardians of the Emerald Forest, they watched over all the creatures of the woods. From high on their perches, they kept their eyes on the rivers and the streams, the bugs and the bears, the birds and the bees, the butterflies and the trees.


They watched out for the slippery slugs and the crawling worms, the hopping frogs and the croaking toads, the lime-green mosses and the silvery lichen.  They even looked after the fungus. That is because the owls were very wise, and they knew that each and every being who lived in the forest was very, very important.


One day Grandmother Owl, whose ears were very sharp, overheard a tribe of war-makers whispering in the night. They were gathered around a campfire and they seemed to be plotting something sinister.  She silently swooped down and hid nearby, so she could hear what they were saying. 


"Lets use this place to practice our war!" said one man. 


"Yes!  Its big!  I like it!" said another.


"We'll tell the people it's safe, so they won't be alarmed," laughed another.


"Oh dear! Oh dear!" exclaimed Grandmother Owl, and she quickly flew back to her favorite spot high in the forest canopy. She called out to her family. They gathered around her, snuggling close together on the thick cedar branch, their ears perked attentively.  


"These humans are strange ones. There seems to be something not quite right with them. They are blinded to the beauty and preciousness of the Emerald Forest," said Grandmother Owl. "They have hatched a terrible plan. They are plotting to practice war here... right over our beautiful home! Can you imagine?"


"Oh dear! Oh dear!" cried the owls. "Oh dear, Oh dear, Oh dear!"


The owls began to twitch nervously, hopping up and down, panting and puffing, their feathers all awry. They were in deep distress, because not one of them knew what to do. 






The next day, Grandmother Owl called out to all the leaders of the animal clans. They gathered together in a clearing in the heart of the Emerald Forest. Grandmother Owl told them of the war-makers' evil plan. 


She turned first to the eldest among them, the Great Grandfather of the Bear Clan. He was very old, but he had a big heart that was both brave and kind --- and he knew many things. 


"What shall we do, Great Grandfather Bear?" asked Grandmother Owl. 


But Great Grandfather Bear did not answer. He just shook his head slowly, and his big brown eyes filled with tears. He knew that now, even the Black Bear Clan --- who had never been scared of anything --- would live in fear. 


For the Old Bear knew of these war-makers, and he knew of their deadly weapons. No creature, no matter how big, or fierce, or brave, or smart, would ever survive an encounter with them. 


"Well, Great Grandfather, I am listening... what do you say?" asked Grandmother Owl.




But the Old Bear did not answer. His big brown head hung low, and his heart grew heavy with grief.


"Why, just the noise of ONE of those war machines could deafen us!" cried the Grandmother of the Cougar Clan. The big golden-haired cat crouched down low, and covered her ears with her paws. Her jade-green eyes grew round with alarm. 


"I tell you this: it's  like nothing you have EVER heard before! Don't you know? The roar of those machines rips through the skies and shatters everything it touches! We will be unable to hunt, or call our mates, or even sleep in peace!"


Grandmother Owl turned to the leader of the Elk Clan, who was admired throughout the animal kingdom for his grace and his nobility. 


"What shall we do, Grandfather Elk?" she asked.


A majestic being, Grandfather Elk held his head high. His deep voice grew somber.  "I have won many battles in my day," he said. "But I recognize that this is a battle we cannot win. 
Therefore, I say: We must leave.  We must leave before the war-makers come with their destruction. We MUST save our clans!"



"But Grandfather, where would we go?" asked the Grandmother of the Marmot Clan. "Why, the other forests are already full of animals. We cannot invade their land and steal their homes. It would create great disharmony, and it would wreak havoc throughout the land!"


What the old marmot said was true, and all the animals knew it. There was no other place to go. And there was no place to hide. 


The circle of clan leaders grew silent. One by one they slipped back into the forest. They had to return to their families, to share the terrible news. They moved slowly, for their hearts were heavy and sad.






CHAPTER TWO



That night, as the Owl Clan snuggled together beneath the soft glow of the silver moon, Grandmother Owl's youngest granddaughter, whose name was Sophie, had an idea. 


"Grandmother, maybe we could get the humans to help us," she whispered. "You know, the people who love the Emerald Forest!"


"How would we ever do THAT?" snapped her brother Oliver. "The humans don't understand our language!"


"Yep...people nowadays are all too busy. They never take time to listen to us birds anymore, " said her sister Oma. 


"Its not just us birds. The humans have forgotten how to commune with the animal kingdom," said Sophie's grandfather. "It is not like it was long ago when we were in good relationship with the human kingdom. It is very different now. It is very unfortunate. And it makes me sad."


"Oh, but dear Sophie, I do like your idea!" declared Grandmother Owl. She drew her granddaughter close, nestling her beneath one of her great wings. Sophie was happy. Resting beneath her Grandmother's wing was her favorite place to be.





"Indeed, precious one, I think your idea may be the only hope we have," whispered Grandmother Owl.


The next morning, Grandmother Owl spied a handsome ranger working in the forest. She could feel that this man had a kind heart. She spread her huge wings and swooped down close to him, eager to converse. But the man was startled. He backed away, and ran back to his cabin. 


"Oh dear! I guess I spooked him!" said Grandmother Owl. "It seems I am a bit scary to the humans. I think someone else needs to approach him." 


She considered the rabbit, or the marmot, or maybe the hummingbird. Or perhaps the river otter...


"Oh Grandmother, let me, let ME!" pleaded Sophie. "I am small. I won't spook him!"


"Sophie my darling, it can be dangerous out there for a bird as little as yourself. Don't you remember what your father taught you about those owl-hunting raptors that seem to be all about us these days? Why, they might be delighted to have you for a mid-afternoon snack!"


The Great Old Owl shivered all over. Just the thought of  her little Sophie being hurt made her tremble. 


"No, no. I cannot let you take that risk. It is just too dangerous."


"Oh Grandmother... please? Please? Please, please, please?" cried Sophie. "I SO want to help! And look Grandmother... I am growing bigger everyday. See? Watch me! I can fly really fast now! No nasty raptor can catch me! PLEASE?"


"No, dear one. It's just too risky," replied her Grandmother. "You must stay here where its safe, high in the treetops, until you grow big and strong. Then you can be more adventure-some.... when you are all grown up."


No matter what Sophie said, her Grandmother would hear nothing of it. 


"Go play now, little one. I have work to do. I must decide who is the best creature to become an ambassador for the animal kingdom. The decision must be made soon, for we haven't much time. Please, my sweet, go play now. I must be left alone."


Disappointed, Sophie flew to her playground high in the treetops. From afar she watched her Grandmother closely. The Old Bird sat motionless on the thick cedar limb, her head tucked beneath one of her great wings. Her beloved Grandmother was in deep contemplation. Sophie knew that this was definitely not the time to bother her. 


The baby owl peered through the treetops at the lush green forest beneath her. The Emerald Forest was teeming with life. 


She felt very confused. 


Why would the humans ruin this forest that is so peaceful, so delicate, so pristine? Why would they practice their war in this place... a place that has so much beauty?


Try as she might, Sophie could not understand. 


What was wrong with these humans?


Couldn't they feel the Life of the forest? Couldn't they sense how precious it is?  And the most important question of all:

Could they ever be stopped?











CHAPTER THREE



Ranger Goldmark was a gentle man with a kind heart, and he was doing his very best to be the very best ranger he could possibly be.


One day he was told that a tribe of war-makers had decided to use the forest where he worked to practice war. They showed him their plans. They smiled and shook hands. They seemed very pleased with how quickly their plans were moving forward. 


"Too quickly," thought Ranger Goldmark. But he kept that thought to himself, for the tribe of war-makers were very powerful. They had lots of plans for all sorts of things, and they didn't like it when people interfered with their plans.


But Ranger Goldmark felt that something was not quite right. What was it? He wasn't sure. Besides, what could he do?


"This tribe of war-makers is huge. And they are rich and powerful. I am just a ranger, all alone. What can a lone ranger do?"


That night Ranger Goldmark had trouble falling asleep. He tossed and turned fitfully.  Thick shafts of moonlight  streamed through his window, illuminating his cabin with a mysterious glow. 


Suddenly something flew across his room. Startled, Ranger Goldmark sat up in his bed, and rubbed his eyes.

What was THAT ?? he wondered.


Was it a bat?


No. Not a bat... too big!


Was it a flying squirrel?


No, not a squirrel... too small!


And then he saw it: A tiny bird, perched on the bedpost at the foot of his bed. It was a baby spotted owl! And its shining black eyes were staring at him intently.


Ranger Goldmark was not frightened at all. Perhaps that is because the little bird was... well, very little. And it had a gentle presence.




The owlet opened its beak and began to sing.

"Tweet tweet!  Cheep cheep!


Tweet tweet!  Cheep cheep!" 

it sang, again and again. 


"How strange! Why I have never heard an owl sing," thought Ranger Goldmark. "I thought owls hooted!"


Ah, but this little owl was different from other owls. Quite the songster she was! And for some unknown reason, the music of the little bird's sweet melody soothed the ranger, and he began to relax. His head slowly sank down into his pillow, and he soon fell fast asleep. 


And it wasn't long afterwards that Ranger Goldmark had a dream. A terrible, terrible dream. 


Ranger Goldmark dreamed he was flying. Way, way up high like a bird he flew, far above the treetops. When he looked down, he could see large black scars upon the landscape. Dark plumes of   smoke spiraled upwards, and the air was thick with ash. He watched in horror as a jet crashed, and then burst into flames. The huge fireball spread in all directions, ravaging everything in its path. 


Ranger Goldmark could see the carcasses of many animals who had been burned to a crisp. Others were running in terror, but they had no place to hide, and many were drowning in the swift-running rivers. 


Suddenly Ranger Goldmark heard a deafening  


RRRRROOOAAARRRRRR!!!!


He looked over his shoulder. Then he looked up. The sky overhead was filled with warplanes! Hundreds of fighter jets were bearing down upon him!






The thunderous roar of the jets was horrific. It blasted through his body, making it tremble all over. 


Suddenly, Ranger Goldmark felt his head EXPLODE into a thousand pieces!


The assault was so intense, it catapulted him from his bed. The ranger clung to his bedpost, shaking. He was covered with sweat, and his head was throbbing with pain.


"What a terrible dream!" he cried. "Terrible, terrible!" 


What did it mean?


Ranger Goldmark suddenly realized that the tribe of war-makers were not being honest. When they shook his hand and smiled at him, they had promised that they wouldn't hurt the animals and plants of the forest.


Now Ranger Goldmark knew that these men were not telling the truth!






CHAPTER FOUR



Ranger Goldmark walked into the forest and sat down on a big log. He felt very blue. 


"I am just a lone ranger," he thought. "What can one man do? I can't do anything. They are too big and powerful. My hands are tied."


He looked down at the forest floor and his head hung low. 


Just then he heard a bird singing. Why it sounded just like the song he had heard the night before... the song of the baby owl! The baby spotted owl with the shining black eyes!



"Cheep cheep!   Tweet tweet! 

Cheep cheep!   Tweet tweet!"

it warbled, again and again.

Where was it coming from?

Ranger Goldmark looked all around but he could not see any birds anywhere. The sound seemed to be coming from a nearby thicket. Ranger Goldmark leaned close and peered into the dense foliage. He saw something flutter.

Yes...it was her! It was the baby owl... the one he had seen the night before!

The owlet darted out of the bush, and landed right on top of Ranger Goldmark's hat.


"Ha ha ha ha ha!" laughed the ranger. 

"Well, its my little friend. And I thought I had only dreamed you! What a delight you are, and your little song too! So sweet! Well I am very glad you came to visit me. I certainly could use a friend right now!"

The baby owl jumped onto Ranger Goldmark's shoulder.

"Cheep cheep!  Tweet tweet!" it sang into his ear. 

"Well I don't know what you are trying to say, little one. But I certainly enjoy your cheerful song. I didn't know owls could sing! What a surprise! I must say, it certainly uplifts my spirit."

Ranger Goldmark stayed in the forest all afternoon, listening to the baby owl's song. That evening, he felt much, much better as he made his way home to his cabin. The heaviness in his heart had lifted. And, just as he entered his front door, Ranger Goldmark knew exactly what he had to do. 

The very next morning he met with the tribe of war-makers. They were smiling and shaking hands with all the rangers. But this time, Ranger Goldmark did not shake their hands. Instead, he held his hand high in the air. 

"WAIT!" said Ranger Goldmark. "I have something to say."

Everyone turned and faced him.

"This forest belongs to The People! We must let the people who love the Emerald Forest speak! It is THEIR forest!  We must let THEM decide what is best!"

A thick silence fell upon the room. The tribe of war-makers were not pleased. They glared at Ranger Goldmark.  They did not want to hear what The People had to say.

The ranger could feel invisible daggers from the war-makers' eyeballs. They pierced his chest and his belly and took his breath away. His knees felt wobbly. 

Ranger Goldmark was scared. These men belonged to a very powerful tribe. They could hurt him. Badly. 

Just then, at that very moment, he heard the song of the baby owl inside his head. 

"Cheep cheep!  Tweet tweet!"  sang the little voice. 

Suddenly, the fear in Ranger Goldmark's chest and belly disappeared. He took a deep breath. He glared back at the war-makers, and held his hand high

"WAIT! You MUST listen!" he said.  "The people who love this forest have a right to speak! This forest belongs to them." 

Despite protests from the war-makers, Ranger Goldmark refused to back down.

"I insist," he said. His voice was filled with authority.


"The People who love the Emerald Forest have a right to speak," he said.


And so they did. 


And --- as it turned out --- they had ALOT to say.

The People who loved the Emerald Forest were many. There were scientists and artists, mothers and fathers, nurses and teachers, visitors from afar and natives whose ancestors had lived near the forest for eons. There were forest-dwellers and city-folk, fishermen and kayakers, campers and hikers, loggers and pilots.


The people were very different in many ways, but they all shared the same sentiment:


They loved the Emerald Forest.


They loved its lush green valleys, its towering trees and its thick carpet of soft green moss. They loved its free-flowing rivers and crystalline waterfalls. And they loved the hush of quiet they experienced there, for it nourished them deeply and restored their spirits.


They loved all the animals who lived in the Emerald Forest, and the plants too, and they could not bear to see them harmed.  

Some of the people spoke of the terrible noise the war jets made, and how it would hurt the animals ears, as well as their own. 


Others spoke of the delicate tapestry of life, and how it could be damaged by the powerful war machines.


The people who loved the Emerald Forest spoke on behalf of those who had no voice: the marmots, the eagles, the butterflies and the bees, the deer and the elk, the bears and the cougars.



They spoke on behalf of the wild rivers and the salmon, the babbling creeks full of trout, the ancient trees and the flying squirrels, the river otters and the owls, the weasels and the mice. 

They spoke for the hopping frogs and the slithering slugs, the timid bats and the burrowing bugs, and the millions of tiny creatures who call the Emerald Forest home.


For The People were wise, and, like the Guardian Owls, they knew that every being who lived in the forest was very very important.


And not one of them believed the war-makers statement that "nothing would be harmed" by their plan.


When Ranger Goldmark heard the Peoples' voices, he knew he had done the right thing. He could feel the truth in their words. It was as if the Spirit of the Emerald Forest was speaking through them.


Ranger Goldmark's heart surged with deep respect for these courageous people who dared to stand up and say 'NO!' to the war-makers. 


And the People, in turn, felt great respect and love for Ranger Goldmark. For if it were not for this brave man with the kind heart, the war-makers would have stolen the Emerald Forest, and destroyed it with their dangerous weapons.


And so it was that Ranger Goldmark became a great hero of The People and of all the animals who called the Emerald Forest home.





CHAPTER FIVE



When Grandmother Owl finally awakened from her deep contemplation, several days had passed. The Great Old One paused and looked around. She sniffed the air a few times. 



Something had changed.



What was it? She wasn't sure.


But, being the Wise Old Bird that she was, she could sense that a shift had occurred. 


Yes. Something was different. Very different. 


Grandmother Owl called out to her brood. Little Sophie, who was playing in the treetops nearby, quickly flew to her side. 


"Something has changed, my darlings. But I don't know what it is," said Grandmother Owl. "Something has happened. Something important. Does anybody know?"


But no one seemed to know anything. The owls all just looked at each other, their shiny black eyes wide. 


Just then little Sophie started to sing.

"Cheep cheep! Tweet tweet! 

Cheep cheep! Tweet tweet!" she chirped.

Her family burst out laughing. 


"That's not the right sound for an owl!" teased her brother.


"If you keep that up, you might be mistaken for a songbird and become somebody's lunch," chided her father.

"And just why are you so merry anyway? Just what is there to be so happy about?" scolded her sister.


But Sophie ignored their taunts, and continued to sing. Her voice was strong and filled with confidence.


Grandmother Owl closed her eyes and appeared to be taking another snooze. But then she started to smile and nod her head in perfect timing with her granddaughter's melody. And it wasn't long before the whole Guardian Clan was bobbing up and down in rhythm with her, cheeping and tweeting in perfect harmony.





And whenever Ranger Goldmark walked into the forest, he could hear them singing Sophie's song. The sweet tune lifted his spirits and it filled him with strength.


The brave ranger with the kind heart knew that however difficult the battle would be to save the Emerald Forest from the war-makers, he had invisible forces that were helping him.


And he was never fearful again.


He knew he must help the People who loved the Emerald Forest. He promised his new little friend Sophie that he would do everything he possibly could, for as long as he lived, to protect this special special place and keep it safe. Forever and ever. 


And evermore.






The Emerald Forest needs your help! The US Navy wants to turn the skies over Olympic National Park into an Electromagnetic Warfare Training Range. 

Please sign this petition to the official who can thwart the Navy's plan:

UnderSecretary Robert Bonnie: URGENT: Save America's National Parks and Forests from War Jets!


We have a very short window of opportunity to voice our objection. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which means that it belongs to the whole world. Everyone's voice counts.

In addition to signing the petition, please write or email: 


Tom Tidwell, Chief, USFS 
1400 Independence Ave SW 
Washington DC 20250
ttidwell@fs.fed.us

Robert Bonnie, USDA
1400 Independence Ave SW
Jamie L Whitten Bldg  240 E
Washington DC 20250
robert.bonnie@osec.usda.gov 


Letters and emails can be short, but we need thousands. Request the Forest Service DENY the Navy a permit to use our public lands for warfare practice. Children's letters and drawings are powerful. Add your whole family's voice...it really will make a difference! 

America's National Parks and Forests do not belong to the government, or to the Department of Defense. They belong to the American people --- to enjoy and to share with the world.  We all have the responsibility to protect this very special place for the generations yet to be born.

Please share this story!  (SHARE BUTTONS BELOW, BOTTOM LEFT) 


In appreciation,

Olivia de Lucca   (and her friends)


About the Author:

Olivia deLucca is an artist/writer who makes her home on the Olympic Peninsula at the edge of the Emerald Forest. She is very good friends with the animals who call Olympic National Park home.  Olivia enjoys trekking deep into the heart of the forest, accompanied by her wild and mischievous muse, a baby dragon named Zack. She appreciates every person who speaks up to save the Emerald Forest.













ARTICLES

THE OUTDOOR SOCIETY:

120 K signatures of protest delivered to Forest Service officials.  
Click on the "photo gallery" to view the "We the People" scrolls. 

http://outdoor-society.com/120000-anti-navy-wargame-signatures-delivered-to-olympic-national-forest/

Warjets coming.....Seriously?

http://outdoor-society.com/navy-jets-coming-soon-to-the-olympic-wilderness-seriously/


DAILY KOS:

The Danger of Navy's Electromagnetic Radiation:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/09/30/1426062/-Dangers-of-Navy-s-Electromagnetic-Radiation

President Theodore Roosevelt and FDR saved this special place for all generations to come. What might they say?

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/09/18/1422691/-Teddy-Roosevelt-Wake-Up-and-Roar#comments


TRUTH OUT: 

PUBLIC HEALTH RISKS:

http://truth-out.org/news/item/28009-documents-show-navy-s-electromagnetic-warfare-training-would-harm-humans-and-wildlife

OVERVIEW OF NAVY PLAN: