Wednesday, February 1, 2017
It may be the warmest winter on record, but I feel stuck in the frozen dark. I’m despondent, and I keep hoping the groundhog will emerge with some encouraging news.
There was a whiff of spring at the Women’s March. There, and at other marches, I’ve been encouraged by the opportunity to just stand up and shout. I’ve been encouraged by the number of voices raised, the diversity of those voices, the collective outrage and determination. I realize that many horrible things are still bound to happen, and one march can’t change the world, but what about two? Several? Many? Are we shouting into the wind?
You may not realize, but today is a pagan holiday called Imbolc (pronounced “IM-bulk”). “Imbolc” means something like “in the belly,” and while fairly quiet in the cacophony of our larger culture, this is a beautifully precise little day that sits right on the line between the Winter Solstice in December and the Spring Equinox in March. Imbolc is associated with Brigid, the Gaelic goddess who, in part, represents the power that brings us from the dark season of winter into the warmth and light of spring. It’s a day to feel the first stirring of the seed that will gradually sprout and grow. The soil may be frozen solid (or used to be this time of year), but the seed still moves, undetectably.
We feel invisible in our suffering. We’re astonished and dismayed to see free rein consciously bestowed on malignant narcissists and conniving opportunists who threaten our most basic values. We see hate, fear and bigotry that is suddenly unrestrained, civil liberties attacked, lives at stake over healthcare and reproductive rights, prejudice green-lighted, our physical environment threatened and marginalized communities trampled. Worrying baby steps in the direction of total fascism are applauded by people we thought we knew, or worse, blithely ignored by the very people we grew up thinking would lead the charge against any such thing. We don’t know what to do. We don’t know if our outrage matters. We are demoralized.
But maybe we’re seeds. Maybe they can’t see us yet, but that doesn’t mean we’re not coming. The seed’s journey is natural and relentless. It just grows because it has to. It must sprout and push up through the soil and break through and open wide to drink the sun. That’s the seed’s only purpose. Seeds grow gardens. Seeds grow forests.
So while the seed rests underground, I’m going to honor Imbolc to listen while it faintly stirs. Like a seed, I’ll make the mundane movements of growth: call my senators and congresswoman, write letters to the editor, buy hand-warmers for the march and occupy my square foot of space in the freezing cold because numbers matter. I’ll pen a sign and hold it over my head, and if I’m lucky, I’ll find a catchy phrase that will resonate and seize the narrative. Or I’ll tweet someone else’s catchy phrase, claim the field and persuade where I can. I’ll pressure my congresspeople, and donate to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, join a political campaign, volunteer and march hard and shout loudly wherever there’s an opportunity, to be sure they know we’re here, that we’re listening and watching. I’ll tune in, not out, and endure that discomfort the same way the seed endures its own explosion into growth.
The seed never appears to have a chance, and yet its journey is inevitable. Here on February 1st, faith in things unseen is, to me, faith in the flower I can’t yet see. I’m going to nourish the seed and do my work. Who’s in?
Actions you can take:
There is a Tax March coming together for April 15th to demand POTUS release his tax returns, because I think we all know that's where the bodies are buried. Demand transparency! There is also a March for Science planned to protest Trump/Bannon's attacks on fact-based decision-making. Date TBD. There are even rumblings of a General Strike on February 17.
Most important, you can call congress, and you should every day. Here are some sites that are super helpful with that effort (there are more):
Flood those lines! Viva la resistance!