The United States of Entropy

Will you meet me someday past the sunset Known by the known, the dreamers of the dream

And stitch by stitch we work to tear the seam

“Someday Past the Sunset,” The Chris Robinson Brotherhood

When I was younger, I hated ripping seams. I would adopt a surly demeanor as I reached for the seam ripper and mutter profanities as I undid the stitches which had failed to please me. All that effort and time seemed wasted.

Now that I’m a little older, it doesn’t bother me to tear out that which doesn’t serve. I am grateful for the chance to undo and re-do, to get one step closer to fine. I don’t get frustrated; I feel peaceful as I make the slashes and tug the pieces apart again, knowing they’ll come together smoother after correction.

I think in some ways, this reflection connects to current events. We find ourselves in a situation where many of the previous ways do not serve, and have to tear our mutually constructed reality apart to make it fit. It’s become clear that things in the beforetime were put together in such a way that those at the margins suffered the most. The stitching had been set to skip over them, and even when they grasped the edges, it could never hold.

Now things are falling apart, fast for some of us, in slow motion for others. Some of us feel anger, some disappointment. Some feel fear, while others feel drive. What an opportunity we have been given to practice mutual aid while offering support and liberation. Doing the work, even when it’s messy, because in the end, we’re all we’ve got. Tearing seams, trimming old pieces, cutting new ones to fit, and making sure no one is left out this time. Squaring up in multiple senses and dimensions.

I’ve always loved how the backside of a quilt top resembles stained glass when held up to the light. The seams we keep hidden become borders holding bursts of color and beauty, a pattern in reverse.

Things that need undone and redone will continue revealing themselves as we keep moving forward. Even when we feel like we’re standing still, we are emerging with purpose, with the directive to survive. And if that’s all you can do right now? It’s enough.

Pax vobiscum,

Selah Raines

Going Rogue: Resistance in the Age of Appalachian Petro-colonization

From the time of colonization onward, Appalachia has been subjected to the exploitative whims of the ruling class. Blood spilled down the mountains for centuries, culminating in the determined spirit of modern inhabitants of the region. We may be slow to anger, but we will not rest until we set aright injustice. 

The timber, rail, and coal barons have been relentless in their onslaught, stealing our bountiful natural resources for pennies as our people eke out their existences on the narrow margins afforded those able to work themselves to the bone. Perhaps no other state in the region has suffered more at the hands of oligarchical forces than West “By God” Virginia. Subjected to predatory practices, our landscapes have been razed and dynamited for the almighty dollar by out of state corporate landowners perpetuating the colonial paradigm. Citizens find themselves in a state without clean air, clean water, or many opportunities for living better than their predecessors. The damage done by coal and timber companies has now been exacerbated by the development of shale gas, resulting in hundreds of millions of gallons of our freshwater being used in frack wells- water which will never be clean again.

These constant assaults on the landscape are the equivalent to being under siege in a war we didn’t choose, but one we will not back down from nonetheless. The ranks of the opposition continue to swell as new industries join in the destruction of the mountains.

We will not back down.

As dangerous and unnecessary pipelines close in on us, we will stand our ground and hold industry accountable. The natural gas industry has overrun our farms and tainted our wells, attempting to run us out of the mountains, but we’re fighting back.

To that end, I’d like to invite you to join us for the Circle of Protection at Bent Mountain this Sunday, Sept. 22. Registration is required. Resisters from WV, VA, and NC will also be hosting a Climate Emergency: Tri-State Pipeline Strike. We will be occupying the Wells Fargo Plaza outside the Wells Fargo Bank at 26 Salem Ave. SE, Roanoke, VA 24011 on Sept. 23 beginning at 10 am. This is the only pipeline strike in the region, and we welcome all in solidarity.


Like the Phoenix, we will rise