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Nov 15
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Fiona Woke Us Up

Fiona Woke Us Up

When we interviewed Catherine Neill, Dorje Denma Ling’s Executive Director, after the passage of hurricane Fiona which had left the place without power for 20 days, the first words she uttered were…

“Fiona was a wake-up call.”

The wake-up is that climate change brings more big storms. On September 24th, Hurricane Fiona took down trees and blew off the Pavillion’s front door. The utility pole bringing power to DDL snapped and down came the transformer. The wires needed to be dug up, and that is what took 20 days…

The small team of four composed of Catherine, Dan, David, and Gina, had a generator keeping the kitchen fridge, the chest freezer, and the phone connected. The gas stove worked as well. Sangha neighbors, The Gleiches, offered water and showers. Catherine said, “it was like a long encampment, a long skirmish.” Thanks, Lily and Steve Gleich!

Fortunately, less than a week before, the new white roof, (well light grey) had been completed over the kitchen and dining room and did not leak. And the main shrine room held up with only a little leak. The roofer, Curtis Cando, returned after the storm to repair the hemp house and took program credit as his pay! Thanks, Curtis! The Pavillion, the only building damaged, was taken care of swiftly by Richard Peisinger and Louis Allen, who replaced the front door that had blown 100 yards away. Several panels were also replaced and it was winterized as usual. Thanks, Richard and Louis!

Yes, there is liability insurance… Still waiting on that. And DDL registered for Fiona Relief, ($2500.) The bill for the electrician was $3200 and it is still unknown if it will be included as Fiona relief. Fiona will be remembered.

Indoor events, such as the fire puja of October 7-9, were canceled, as well as the Thanksgiving party…Over the 20 days, the mighty four, took care of outdoor landscaping and painted the outside of the PMH.

Fiona has woken us up. What are our next steps, how do we look to the future? Well, the good news is that DDL already was making plans and raising funds to be less reliant on fossil fuels. With the help of sangha, Catherine is moving ahead with fundraising for solar energy, which will allow the center to get off oil boilers to heat the place, shifting out of old, aging energy systems into new ones. Slowly getting off the grid, and coming up with the best plan. The future with or without storms will be built with infrastructures that are kind to the earth. Thanks to John Odenthal for your help!

Thanks to everyone that helped and continues to help Dorje Denma Ling strengthen and uphold our warrior vows to be kind and heal the earth.

As a postscript… 

In September, I drove from my home at Sky Lake in New York to Nova Scotia and spent one night at DDL on September 19th. On the 20th, the rain had begun. There had been a plan to return on the 29th to spend a few more days, but the trip was shortened due to Fiona. I did not make it back there. Catherine said the banner was not lost, the winds did not move it. “Never give up. Never ever give up.” CTR. May it be so.

With love–Irene


This post is an excerpt from the Touching the Earth Collective November 2022 Newsletter. Click here to read the full newsletter.

Clearly seeing the need for an urgent response to human-caused environmental degradation, Touching the Earth warriors invite individual and collective action for the rebalancing, protection and celebration of a healthy living world.

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