I have a true life confession to make: I woke up this morning with Daryl Hannah’s pig in my bed. Snuggled right up. I have no recollection of the night before. Let me say one thing in my defense- Molly, the pot bellied pig, is a discerning, clean, pig, even if she is well….a bit of a pig. And even if she does have a pot belly.
(Editors note: just learned that technically Molly is not a pot bellied pig – she is a micro pig. Daryl rescued her from an unhappy life of being tossed from foster home to foster home).
I’ve been staying at Daryl’s place for the last couple of days, in the wake of my new feature documentary, Fierce Light’s U.S. premiere, at the Palm Springs international film festival. Daryl is featured in the film as an eco-activist, during the struggle to save South Central Farms, North America’s largest urban communty garden, from the developers bulldozers.
Her home is the stellar opposite of the usual movie stars pad – it’s in a treed valley, that she helped restore to its natural state, with a stone house, and surrounding smaller buildings, including a yurt, and a teepee. Her living room is outside, with a carpet of living moss. I stayed in the yurt last time, but this time around I’m in the main house, where the pet pig roams.
According to Daryl, the nomadic way of living is in fact the most sustainable. You leave a light foot print. Your structures do not destroy the earth – you step lightly, camp lightly, and move on, with a minimum of stuff, a minimum impact on the ground. I’ve always had a thing for nomadic structures. Maybe it’s because I’m such a nomad myself. I’ve lived in houseboats, and wall tents, cabins and campers, caves and squats, rooftops and hammocks, and the modern nomads half way houses of artists residencies and film festival hotel rooms.
Daryl’s green oasis is home to a marvelous menagerie – two Alpacas, llama like beasts from South America, an assortment of rescued fowl with names like Andy Warhol and White Cloud, a cat named Flaco and a dog named Toto, and the aforementioned pig, Molly. Recently she snuck half the crowd into a motel room en route to Colorado – well just two dogs, the cat and the pig. But still.
All the animals have been rescued from scenarios in which they were abandoned or in danger of getting killed. Flaco, worlds most friendly cat, was once a feral cat, and the alpacas were going to be killed, cause they weren’t up to snuff as show animals – one had the right bangs, but the wrong coat, and the other had the right coat but the wrong bangs. Somehow or other, these animals find a second chance at life in Daryls place.
Daryls love of animals, and her intense love of nature has inspired her long and deep commitment to environmental activism. She has come to the stark realization that the planet is in a state of emergency, and the sanest response to that is to put everything you can, into trying to saving it. Parallel to her acting career, in which she became famous for her roles in such classics as Splash, Bladerunner and Kill Bill, Daryl has become an outspoken voice in defense of planet earth, as well as a committed activist. Daryl is always appearing at conferences and events, speaking out for sustainability and environmental concerns. She runs a regular on-line Vlog, dhlovelife.com in which you can follow her journey to the far corner of the worlds, searching out stories of sustainability in action.
Daryl Hannah and John Quigely, arrested at South Central Farms
Daryl has also been involved in direct action, most famously at the encampment in defense of South Central Farms, the largest urban garden in North America. When the call went out to help save the beautiful urban oasis from the developers bulldozer, Daryl found herself tree sitting (despite her fear of heights!) alongside veteran activists John Quigely and Julia Butterfly Hill, well known for her two year tree sit high atop the ancient red wood tree Luna, which she suceeded in saving.
I first met Daryl after she saw Scared Sacred during it’s theatrical release. It’s part of the Fierce Light Trilogy, the story of my five year journey to ground zero’s of the world, in search of stories of transformation. She called me up out of the blue to say how much she loved the film, and offered to help in any way she could.
A year later, she phoned me from South Central Farms, where she had gone to film for dhlovelife.com She ended up not only filming the story, but becoming part of it. She convinced me that this was an important story, one that would fit perfectly into my new project, Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action. Cher Hawrysh, my producer, and I had to make a quick decision – we had yet to raise a dime for the film, but it was clearly a breaking, powerful story. We decided to cover it, and I flew down from Toronto to join in the action to try and save the farm. This story became the back bone for Fierce Light. John Quigely called the struggle to save the farm the most important story of the last decade.
Watch out for Daryl over the next few years – she’s on a mission to throw a wrench into the machinery that’s destroying mother earth, and we need all the life loving warriors for the earth we can muster right now. Her central message is: Love Life. If we start from that place, everything else makes sense. From a place of love, of what Matthew Fox calls “biophilia” from a place of life centeredness, we will find the resources to stand up and be part of the solution. A force of positivity in contrast to the forces of necrophilia – the death forces of the Industrial Growth Society. This is the time to stand up for this beautiful world that we are a part of, that is part of us. We have the tremendous honour to have been born at a time of utter crisis, and have the opportunity to rise to the occasion, and reap all the incredible boons stepping into your true self offers – finding your purpose, your own calling in this time of crisis.
Step up, step out, and let your fierce light shine, for the love of life.
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Watch Daryls Vlogs about the action to save South Central Farms
Learn more about Daryl and South Central Farms on the Fierce Light