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from Dreaming the Dark

It seems the sun is going down on everybody's world, that we are about to lose what can never be reclaimed. Our acts of power seem frail compared with the powers of destruction. There are too many enemies, too many burial sites for chemical wastes, too many weapons already in the stockpiles. There are too many jobless, too many hopeless, too many rapists at large. Too many of those who wield great powers are unconcerned. They do not feel that they are a part of this world.


I know that I am not alone in being overwhelmed at times by hopelessness and despair. I hear the same fears from my friends, my family, from the clients who come to me for counseling. Everybody's personal pain is touched by this greater uncertainty: we are no longer confident of leaving a better world-of leaving a living world, to our children.

Yet the children must be fed, the dogs must still be walked, the work must go on, so we raise the barriers that defend us from unbearable pain, and in a state of numbness and denial we go on. The work may seem flat, but we carefully avoid questioning its meaning and its usefulness, even though we sense that something deep and sweet is missing from our lives, our families, our friendships; some sense of purpose, of power, is gone. And still the children grow up around us, no less beautiful than any other generation of children, and still when we poke a seed into the earth it continues to push forth roots and unfurl stem, leaf, flower, fruit. There are still moments when we see the processes of life continue to unfold, when we cannot help believing that life is moved by a power deeper than the power of the gun and the bomb; a power that might still prevail if we knew how to call it forth.


Yet the power we sense in a seed, in the growth of a child, the power we feel writing, weaving, working, creating, making choices, has nothing to do with threats of annihilation. It has more to do with the root meaning of the word power, for the (late popular) Latin, podere ("to be able"). It is the power that comes from within.


And we have reason to hope. The forces of destruction seem great, but against them we have our power to choose, our human will and imagination, our courage, our passion, our willingness to act and to love. And we are not, in truth, strangers to this world.

We are part of the circle.

When we plant, when we weave, when we write, when we give birth, when we organize, when we heal, when we run through the park while the redwoods sweat mist, when we do what we're afraid to do, we are not separate. We are of the world and of each other, and the power within us is a great, if not an invincible power. Though we can be hurt, we can heal; though each of us can be destroyed, within us is the power of renewal.

And there is still time to choose that power.

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