First she was buoyantly up in a "dangerous" People's Park tree protesting "Everything," but now she's at Highland Hospital with a broken back, ending an eight-day protest which was a protest-in-progress.
The angel, who called herself Amy Blue ("I have many names," she said), in her mid-twenties, was part of an impromptu group which wanted to herald in a new age of "peace and love," in a park rife with assaults
Her last fall from the tree was her second. She fell in her second day in the tree and was caught in the arms of a friend before she hit the ground. "Moon Shadow," who was first up, last Monday, reportedly took a plunge when—out on a limb—he helped attach a protest banner.
The illusive "Moon Shadow," miraculously survived and the next time I saw him he seemed "none the worse" when I photographed him for my previous tree-sit piece:
The falls capped a whirl-wind week which saw a party-like mood added to what had been, last November, a solemn protest to curb university control of the park and return it to Ohlone Indians.
Medical personnel arrived in the park around 5 a.m. Tuesday to attend to the fallen protester. Near-by park-heads heard her scream and rushed over to assist. Because she was told to stay on her back rather than standing, she may have avoided worse injuries, according to parkers at the scene.
University police arrested Brandon Smith, 25, on an outstanding warrant in Napa County for theft. The park rumor-mill reported that the arrested man was "Moon Shadow," who had boasted to me, he would "mind-fuck the police"', after he descended from the tree, Monday to free himself from "the prison" of his mind while aloft.
But the arrested man was probably, "Oberon," who had taken "Moon Shadow's place in the tree. "Moon Shadow, a master of wit and disguises, was re-disguised by a friend (his third disguise in 30 hours) and beat a hasty retreat out of Dodge.
It wasn't the police who talked down the latest tree-sitter from his "love tree" in People's Park (although they tried for three days); he's down to follow his muse. While he's down, he plans to use his time "advising," and recruiting for the week-old protest, which is on schedule to expand into adjacent trees, and include more sitters.
That is, when the sitter-for-a-week isn't trying to out-fox university police.
I emerged from my Southside pad, Monday to synchronistically run into—of all people—the People's Park tree-sitter ("everything converges," he said) in a disguise so good I almost missed him. I knew he had only committed to tree-sit for a week, but he had been considering extending. He came down, he said, because he needed some time out of the tree.
"I got tired of being in a prison in my head (we're all in prison in our heads), he said, adding, "If I come down, they'll arrest me, and if I stay up, they'll arrest me." He has a lot of plans for the sit and the park as well.
Hold on, though; isn't this Running Wolf's protest? Running Wolf said, when told of the possible rift, "I'm no dictator; I'm down with whatever they evolve." The Oak Grove tree-sit protest, 2006-2008 commanded by Running Wolf (longest running urban tree-sit in North America) evolved into a 21-sitters-extravaganza that cost the university close to a million dollars and delayed construction on Memorial Stadium.
Running Wolf says he envisions a six to ten man sit. But the way Moon Shadow is going, it could be much larger—perhaps another extravaganza. Those who fear (like Hate Man: } police and media helicopters don't want no f-ing extravaganza.
Leaving Caffe Mediterraneum on Telegraph at midnight, Monday, I saw someone who caught my attention, huddled on the sidewalk, leaning against the Med.
It was Moon Shadow, just back from "mind-fucking," he said, the police. He was accompanied by a street beauty queen and dressed differently (in street score) than when I saw him near my apartment.
While recruiting in the park for an expanded tree sit, he had walked, in disguise, undetected among the cops.
Bad public relations led to attempted murder charges and the end of the last sit. Now Moon Shadow, "mid-twenties," who said he knows the previous sitter, Matt Dodt, 53, is personally mending the damaged fences dividing the tree-sit from the park.
This revived tree-sit is a lot younger and a lot more playful than the previous crew (sitter and his support). They're less protesters than romantic adventurers. They called their tree, "the love tree" with the arrival of "Amy Blue," mid-twenties, and after her came "Oberon," a male in his mid-twenties. They told me they envisioned a celebratory tree-sit, characterized by love and good times for the whole park.
"Amy Blue" posed for a romantic photo earlier in the week with Moon Shadow, but according to him, she's not "with" anyone, but is a "free spirit."
The "collective," as Moon Shadow calls it, is composed of "travelers" on the road, who are friends along the way. Moon Shadow, who said he has completed more than five years of college (Biology, Chemistry, and Physics) is on hiatus from an intended career as a Biology teacher.
Glamorous "Amy Blue" is a neo-hippy chick. Trust me on this.
The three musketeers hail from Santa Rosa ("Amy"), Moon Shadow (Colorado), and "Oberon" (no relation to Merle), mid-west.
What are they protesting? This and that. They've picked up on the Beier-like Teley property owner's plans for "revitalizing" the park, being considered at the university. George Beier made park change a central issue in the last District 7 city council race.
But Moon Shadow, additionally, protests the treatment of traveling kids everywhere outside of Berkeley, and the fact he can't afford graduate school. "I'm protesting for a college scholarship," he said last week, adding that he resents the privileged status of Cal students, but would settle for teaching a class there. He probably could. This is one smart young man. Trust me.
A statement last week from the university police sergeant, who commanded, as a temp lieutenant, the massive operation last January that ended a three month tree-sit in the very same tree, said pretty much what he had said that night. "Berkeley not only tolerates free speech, but the university community cherishes the principle of free speech to the point that we tend to tolerate certain uncivil (and even technically criminal) behaviors that might be more swiftly addressed in other jurisdictions."
The arrest of Matt Dodt for attempted murder, when he defended himself from an assault in the tree in January, was apparently intolerable.
Moon Shadow confirms that heat from police abated in his last three days aloft.
When I reminded, the UCP officer, Sgt. Andrew Tucker, that the previous tree-sit ended under dangerous conditions in January (and that's why it ended), he replied, "maybe we should post a warning sign in the tree."
I have written a speculative text for such a warning sign: "POLICE WARNING!: Tree sitting in People's Park—a dangerous place—can be dangerous to your health. The previous occupant was assaulted by two park ruffians, and subsequently assaulted them back. During the Oak Grove protest, a tree-sitter released her hand while descending slowly by rope, and slid 35 feet to the ground, suffering burns to the hands, according to Running Wolf
Perhaps the youthful neo-tree-sitters with their fresh strategies, and their park outreach, will not incite future attacks or invasions to their tree-house, a one-bedroom ingeniously rigged-by-Running Wolf, (living room, level one; bathroom, level two; and bedroom, level three)—perched on a mega-million dollar property site.
Ted Friedman covered the November to February tree-sit for the Planet, and the ensuing court hearings surrounding the case. For his articles on the last sit: Ted Friedman Berkeley Daily Planet Tree-Sit.