When women speak truly they speak subversively — they can’t help it: if you’re underneath, if you’re kept down, you break out, you subvert. We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains. That’s what I want – to hear you erupting. You young Mount St Helenses who don’t know the power in you – I want to hear you.”
— Bryn Mawr College commencement speech, 1986,
Ursula K. Le Guin wrote in a genre that was male dominated and lent a gentle feminist perspective and gentle buddhist thought to her writing. Her creativity will be missed but at least we have her books to read and to give to our children to read and learn a way of thinking about gender that seems finally coming into its own time.
When the terrorist attack came I was in Atlanta on business. The city shut down in a mess of fear and confusion. The next day the Peabody started to clean up the glass and cover up the gaping holes. The injured and the dead were removed. Everyone noted a strange smell. It had a dry, moldy scent reminiscent of Spanish Moss gone rotten. No one could identify its source.
A few days later the evening news reported an increase in the amount of Spanish Moss on the trees and that it had taken hold on the ground and was strangling everything in its path. Within a week the Spanish Moss had become an epidemic. It was strangling all greenery and fowling waterways. It spread in a frighteningly mechanical manner from state to state. Despite global bans on travel and close inspection, it somehow attached itself to travelers and became a world wide problem.
Food and water became scarce and eventually bedlam ensued with killing and pillaging and hoarding the order of the day.
My time on this planet started to draw to a close. So I set out on foot to home, South Carolina. I determined to see if anyone was still alive on Daufuskie.
And this is what I found – the tragic beauty and remnants of a carefree time when people sat on the beach and brought baskets filled with fried chicken and lemonade. The moss was making its inexorable approach and nothing would stop it.