~ From FMC Carswell, Max Unit, by Helen Woodson

Silo Pruning Hook activist Helen Woodson is due to be released September 9 after serving nearly 27 years in prison for that and subsequent actions against war and other assaults on human dignity, peace and the environment.

July 23, 2011

Dear Jack & Felice,

48 days – and then I’ll emerge, Winkle-esque, into a very different world. I’ve always been a troglodyte and came to prison never having laid eyes on a TV remote control. Now the federal prisons have e-mail! I am not permitted to use it, but I did have to acquire rudimentary computer skills to access my address list and commissary account.

Years earlier, a good friend and I, ignorant of the terminology, had decided to call the process of using the Internet “mousing-on”. Before I acquired the afore-mentioned rudimentary skills, I thought one held the mouse in one’s hand and aimed it at the screen. You know, like ye olde remote control. Undaunted, when the need arose, it took me a mere 3 weeks to master the defiant little rodent, after which I gloated for days (okay, forever) about its final submission to my clear genetic superiority. Skype, beware! Woodson’s on the way. I realize I’m going on a bit randomly, but I get to do that because this is my last such letter and because in the end, it will all come together.

Some things change. Some never do. Alfred Nobel left much of his fortune for the establishment of annual awards. He had made the fortune after experimenting with nitroglycerin. His first manufacturing plant blew up, killing his youngest brother, Emil. Did that deter him? It did not, and 3 years later, he patented his new explosive, “dynamite”. This may explain why it is entirely consistent that Barak Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize while engaged in 2 wars and then went on to a starring role in a third. If I ever write a book about war, I will dedicate it to Emil Nobel and the hundreds of millions of our other brothers and sisters whom we’ve blown up over the years in the pursuit of peace (and prizes).

Some here have asked if my prison time has gone by quickly. The very thought shocks me. Counting previous jail time, we’re talking about almost 28 years. Rip Van Winkle makes a good story, but imagine waking up one morning to discover you’ve lost the last 28 years of your life! Life should not go by quickly. I have always loved life generally and my own life specifically, and since we never live alone, that means having loved those with whom I’ve shared it. There is much that I’m looking forward to post-release, but I’m also keenly aware that I will be bidding farewell, first to beloved friends here whose absence from my life will be very strange and very sad. And then to the felonious folks out there who have been my dear friends for more than 25 years and with whom I will no longer be allowed contact.

Some things change. A couple of years ago, 2 feral cats showed up in our yard, suitably ferocious as befit their station in life. Now they attack only our shoelaces and mostly just snooze on our laps. A few days ago, a raccoon family began visiting. The mother is encouraging her 5 babies to move into independence, and they’re eager to explore this new world. In a year, they will no longer recognize each other. In the end, it all does come together. There really is objective Truth, and it can be known. There really is objective moral right and wrong, and none of us can abdicate the responsibility to recognize and live by it. And there really is Love. Some things never change. 48 days…