Clarissa Pinkola Estes, The Moderate Voice
March 4, 2012
Wednesday is International Women’s Day
The month of March, in the USA, is called women’s history month.
Many wondrous women have gone before us… we stand on their shoulders for certain, but because many of the women were not talked up and their lives not taught about in academia and schools…over the years their names became more and more faint as the waves of culture, both new boons and claptrap, erased their names.
But, like an invisible ink, if one knows where to look, one finds their names and faces… that when held to the light, the woman rises… This excerpt is from a book I’ve been working on since long ago along with research at the Smithsonian… on what I’ve called in a poem in the intro that I penned the line: ‘women written with invisible ink’… I hope to complete that manuscript one day, Creator willing.
My method was to juxtapose women’s lives with what I knew about world history, as I have deep interest in the millions of stories held there. (Oddly in high school I flunked world history and Sister Andrew told me in no uncertain terms I’d never make it in the world. But I loved world history for the stories, just could not memorize dates the way world history was taught long ago with facts only and all the story left out. We live and learn. Live and let live.)
Herewith is one such woman ‘written in invisible ink’ by my signts…and with just a little warmth, we can see her again: Mary Constance Blair (1877-1955) as a child found broken flowers and tried to heal them, and saw that when farms came too close to rivers, the frogs and birds became wary and there seemed to suddenly be fewer of each.
She was an educated woman, rare in her time, and became a professor of botany at Northwestern University. But even that was not what was notable about her ‘back in the day.’ What was most wild and wise about her was that she earned her M.A. in 1918 and her Ph.D. in ECOLOGY in 1922…
1922. After the worst ecological disaster ever known on planet Earth to that time, that is, World War I, which in the midst of slaughter more than 9 million souls were murdered and killed their bodies slung into rivers and hung from trees, more forests devastated across the world by the greatest firepower the world had ever known, more wild and domestic animals set a-fire, more rivers polluted than ever before known, more chemical spilt into waterways and into the earth than any scale ever seen in the history of the world…
and this sleight woman roared to the fore of the idea that ecologies whether human ecologies, animal, or plant ecologies, are in balances that humans are insane to even think about disturbing in any way… including war, mayhem, invasion, poor thinking about life and preserving life, from tiniest forms, to largest ones.