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Waiting for the Pendulum

My mother tells me the pendulum will swing back. She's lived through some political hard times — the Depression, McCarthy, Montgomery, the young dying in demonstrations/foreign wars/car wrecks/drive-bys/schoolyards, the losses by fire/flood/famine/hate, and the absurd and deadly shenanigans of politicians over many decades. She swears things will turn around again. "They always do." And meanwhile? "Go on living, what else?"

This worldview is no doubt where she gets the courage to keep reading the newspaper every day, watching the news, and now reading the web. The catalogue of horrors wears me down sometimes, and I take a break, listen to a book on tape instead of the news. There's always plenty of disaster available when I switch back to reality.

Getting up and going to bed in Wisconsin darkness, I'm as grateful for good news now as I will be for crocuses in a couple of months. I'm not looking for Pollyanna; right now I'd suspect her of a drug problem. What I need are the stories of women who go on living — Mary Swander with her shovel in hand, growing the food she needs. Pat Monaghan recalling all she ever knew of protecting a house from cold. Sue Silvermarie becoming and becoming — drummer, witch, healer, one who makes words DO what they say. These women, and all who write for MatriFocus, are also working to make their words SAY what they do. That, too, is a necessary magic.

We're seeing the hard-frozen ground and knowing — the knowing that in February can feel like a full-time job — the facts of crocuses, garlic, pennyroyal, asparagus already implicit in that frozen ground. Knowing that the taste of ripe tomato, wild sweet essence of full summer, requires imagination and action — anticipation, weather-sense, a seed, and a trowel.

There's the question for a winter landscape, personal or political: what can we count on to come around again, and what must we imagine and act on if we want to see it happen? Crones' wisdom is invaluable here. Yet, as reassuring as my mother's words are to me, I'm not comfortable counting on the pendulum to leave behind what's hateful and bring along what's new, strange, and necessary to the next harvest.

The knowledge that we can change consciousness at will carries its own responsibility to both SAY and DO, to stir the reality ourselves. Figuring out what to do is the hardest part. For that, we need the counsel of those who inspire us and those who disagree with us.

Graphics Credits

  • time and magic, courtesy of Gracey Stinson.
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