* It’s turned brutally cold here in the magical MidAtlantic. The emergency hypothermia/shelter phone number for Washington, D.C. is 800-535-7252. Do you know the number for your place? Program it into your cell so that you can easily call when you see someone homeless out in this cold. It’s easier than having to stop, look it up, etc.
* So brave, brave Leon Panetta decided on his way out the door to lift the ban on American women serving in combat positions. He’ll be gone and won’t face any criticism and his replacement can shrug and say that he (Sec’y of Defense is always a “he”) didn’t do it. So, fine, good politics.
And the feminist in my stands up and cheers. In the military, combat experience is almost always a prerequisite to advancement to the higher ranks. And, as a feminist, I believe in equal opportunity for women and that it’s good for our society for every institution, even the — hell, maybe especially the — military to have women in decision-making positions.
For a long time, the justification for keeping women out of combat positions was that America didn’t want/couldn’t face Her daughters coming home in body bags or severely injured. Which was, of course, bullshit. Women have been getting killed and injured (and raped) in war since, well, since the beginning of war. Letting a woman, for example, pilot a helicopter that’s likely to get shot at is as likely to result in her returning home a double amputee as is allowing her to serve in combat. No, the real reasons had to do with, on the one hand, providing an acceptable excuse for denying promotions to military women (no combat experience) and, on the other, a sexist fear of women who kill. The idea that women can kill, might come to like killing, can kill as effectively as any man is a terrifying thought to a whole lot of sexist people. We prefer a myth that says women foster life, are soft, don’t want to hurt others.
The pacifist in me is sad to see a day when it’s “progress” to let women into combat positions. But the feminist in me is happy.
In the poetry of the Hawaiians, rain almost always is the rain of a particular place, with a specific character and an allusion to an erotic element of some story draped with names. The garden waits for the rain, responds to it at once, opens to it, holds it, takes it up and shines with it. The sound and touch and smell of the rain, the manner of its arrival, its temper and passage are like a sensuous visitation to the garden, and the light among the trees after rain, with its own depth and moment, iridescent, shifting and unseizable, is an intensified image of the garden at that instant.
This long Winter, one of the things I miss most is being out in my garden in the rain. I’m like Merwin’s garden, rain is a sensuous visitation for me. In Winter, it’s too cold for me to be out in it, but in the Summer, I’ll sit out in it for hours, loving it and the garden and the way everything smells. I come inside, drenched, and continue to love the way that the wet Earth smells, the way that the light reflects off puddles on leaves, the way that the birds shake themselves and preen after their showers.
What are you looking forward to as the planet revolves around towards Spring and Summer?
* One thing I’m looking forward to is Imbolc and Anne Hill‘s annual poetry slam in honor of the Goddess Brigid — matron of smithcraft and poetry. Are you planning to participate? What poem will you offer?
* Atrios, who is one of the seven wonders of the blogosphere, is doing an important fundraiser. I’ve thrown him some cash and, if you can, I hope that you’ll consider doing so, as well. His voice is a necessary one and he keeps an important focus on issues that actually impact our lives and how modern media supports the status quo.
* I did an Inauguration Day post on the Goddess Columbia. Macha says that Columbia is an allegorical figure, but perhaps not a Goddess. For me and for many others, Columbia is, indeed, a Goddess. I’ve written about this a number of times. Which isn’t to say that She has no value as an allegorical figure.
This touches on a point about which I plan to write in more detail: Pagans don’t worship our Goddesses/Gods because we have faith. We worship (at least a subset of) those Goddesses/Gods of whom we have direct experience. What does it take for an allegorical figure to become (“Almost Pinnochio-like,” Coyote shows and comments) a “real Goddess/God”? I’d argue that what it takes if for people to have a direct experience with/of the Goddess/God. What do you think?