This is the seventh and eighth entry in a series of daily dispatches from a comrade who is attending the Weelaunee Summer Week of Action (June 24-July 1) in Atlanta, Georgia:
A friend and I had been walking for the better part of an hour. The heat and humidity weighed on me; it wasn't a particularly difficult walk, but my heart and lungs were nevertheless working overtime. I thought about the dry heat back home and how much more forgiving it is. There, heat reminds me of a warm embrace; here, it smothers. I missed the desert sun and the way it makes everything feel so much more intense during the summer: the sky feels so much bigger, the landscape so much wider, the soundscape so much sparser. I noticed the absence of the cactus wren calls that normally accompany my afternoon walks.
Looking ahead along the bike path toward Intrenchment Creek Park, I realized that we were closer to Weelaunee than we had been since March. Along the way, still opposite the tunnel into Intrenchment Creek proper, I started to recognize places I'd been during previous visits. I passed the bench where I sat with a dear friend during my first trip here: then still in the formative point of our friendship, we are now closely bound by our shared experiences in this struggle. A little ways further, I saw the clearing where an acquaintance from a previous week of action hung a hammock away from camp when they wanted space to themself. I found the spot where I once encountered a coiled king snake and, crouching near it, marvelled in the beauty of its deep black scales punctuated with bands of white. The different sections of the snake appeared as though they were moving in opposite directions despite being a unified body, seamlessly balancing and integrating contradictory tensions.
Tears welled up in my eyes and stifled breaths grew in my chest as I saw these places and others again. A tender hand, belonging to the friend that accompanied me, landed on my shoulder. I missed the desert in which I was born and by which I have been shaped; I missed the forest that has shown me so much beauty, that has given me some of the most precious moments of my life and which helped me fall in love with being alive all over again.
This week of action has been a dramatic departure from previous weeks. With the present shift in spatial reality, many of the dynamics that I've taken for granted are absent. Instead of the intimacy of camp life, I felt distance; instead of a powerful sense of place and connection, I felt only longing. Things have changed this is something we have collectively understood in the abstract for months now. To understand what that change actually meant and what it felt like, it was necessary to experience it together in this space.
More than anything, this week has been a somatic exercise. In the context of movement therapy, somatics recognizes that trauma is held in the body as much as the mind, and that intentional body movements can help you heal from traumatic experiences. The trauma we've endured as individual bodies and as a movement has been painful. We've experienced police repression and the martyrdom of one of our comrades, and we need to move with intentionality as we enter the next phase of struggle. This was a week of remembering how to move together and how powerful we've been and still are. We have a more sober assessment of where we're at and what we're not quite ready for just yet. As we step into the future unknown, toward the sunrise of our shared revolutionary horizon, we should ask: What possibilities have newly joined us? What possibilities continue to be at our disposal? What possibilities must we recognize as no longer with us?
For the second time this week, I had to turn away from Weelaunee. Nevertheless, the spaces nearby that I could revisit without the imminent threat of police terror allowed me to remember, and to recognize the things that have changed and the things that remain.
This morning, I found myself at the youth rally. I watched as children chanted together and threw around water balloons. In their rowdiness, they experimented with different forms of play, with different forms of conflict and conflict resolution. Supported by a place of love and joy, they searched for the possibilities that lay before them, grasping at each with their little hands and creating the moments they desired in common.