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Gathering Storm

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It’s a good metaphor for the whole world right now: a gathering storm. So much bad out there, growing every day, and growing closer, too. So much fear.

So much resentment, greed, hunger for power.

So much evil.

It’s not real power, of course. A warrior now walked on these four years past once explained that most people misunderstand the term — or, rather, they misunderstand the substance of it. In the dominant culture, people use the word “power” when what they mean (and want) is “authority”: over people, places, things, over cultures and laws and policies, over weapons and (especially) money.

Now, every day is an object lesson in authority; it’s authoritarianism as caricature, the sort of extremist stupidity and cupidity and just plain assholery that no one would believe possible in a fictional context. But this is a mean place, a mean society, a mean culture, and it was meant to be that way.

All features; no bugs.

And spare me the worship of slaveholding rapists, the reverence for the architects of massacre and genocide. This country is working exactly as designed, and if you haven’t snapped to that yet, I don’t know what to tell you at this late date. If you haven’t snapped, likewise, to the fact that the ability to be a bigot, not merely unmolested but lauded for it, is at the bottom of all of it, well, go back and learn to read, not as recitation but as critical theory, because until you do, you’ll never understand what makes this place tick. Chances are, of course, you don’t really have to understand it, because unless you’re at least something off white, the system was designed expressly for you.

And so there is a gathering storm on the end of the country that houses all the monuments and monumental palaces to “LAW” and “JUSTICE” and “GOVERNMENT,” and if it whips itself into enough of a vortex, it’ll catch you, too, unless you’re close enough to them in the DNA of blood or power or money. Meanwhile, the storm’s been out here a minute now, a while, oh, say, five hundred years and counting, tearing through our worlds with sword and fire and rape and pillage and theft and murder, and where were all these people now so worried about “power” then?

And there’s another storm out there forming, too, hell, it’s already formed but it’s gathering speed and power, yes, real power, the kind that doesn’t have an ethos or a morality but mere force, the kind that does what it does and goes where it goes and it’s all in how your puny humanity harnesses it if it can, and now it probably can’t because we’re past a whole bunch of tipping points, and now you’ve got the storm.

Here, it’s storm as no-storm, no precipitation, no rain, no snow, not enough cold but plenty of wind and a world as dry as ash and bone. It’s a place where, in the first week of January, when we should be buried under three feet of snow, the forest service signs declare the fire danger “moderate,” which means it’s halfway to “severe” already. It’s a place where the earth itself undulates with pain, subsidence everywhere, springs rerouted and bodies of water dried up and no relief in sight and those eyes on the other end of the country wondering how they can inflict more even as they rip it away from its stewards in order to rape some more (earth, women, it’s all the same to them, and they’ll do it, hell, they already are).

I start each day with prayer, prayers older than you and me and your books and this country and time itself, and I hope like hell that someone is there to hear it, there to care about it, there, if we’re really lucky, maybe to answer one occasionally. And then I go about my day and try to keep it all in perspective, but there’s no perspective for this because we’re all the way down the rabbit hole now and back up the other side and now you know that the Red Queen lives on in other skins. Other hair, too.

And at the end of the day, I go outside and I look to the west and I find the light, and I find the clouds, and I look for the center of the gathering storm, and I let them come together in my vision, behind the willow that weeps for all of us, and I see, for the moment, only what is there:

beauty.

At least until tomorrow, it has to be enough.

 

 

 

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