Page 6 - Dark Matter:Women Witnessing Issue2
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be among women who know and love the land deeply and intimately was itself one of the great gifts of 

this conference.

“Aren’t there other ways to 

live, and how do we invent 

them?” Clausen asks in her 

talk.The question goes to the 

heart of this issue of Dark 

Matter. A grammar of animacy 

is something every piece in 

this issue could be said to be 

aspiring to, if not enacting 

(quite literally so in Alexandra 

Merrill’s “Homage to Bees”).

Humans in these pages carry on eloquent and instructive conversations with earth intelligences of 

every kind: with the rain, with a wolf, with dragonflies, with bees, with squirrels, with cardinals. “After 

all that has happened, we are still connected,” writes Joan Kresich in her letter of apology to a 

Yellowstone wolf.

In our first issue, elephants came in a dream to teach us about grieving (Issue#1 Grieving With the 

Elephants -­‐ Kristen Flyntz), and here they are teaching us again, in both “trinkets” and “The Music of 

Grief.” In “Dreaming the Future,” Valerie Wolf points out that “The plants have been on this planet 

more than 450 million years, the animals have lived here more than 350 million years. Humans, in their 

current form as homo sapiens, have only dwelt here for 220 thousand years. Who should know more 

about what works here?” It is understood by the writers here that we have everything to learn from 

these other intelligences. (And, as Kimmerer points out, “We could use teachers.”)

There’s an intricate pattern of rhymings and concordances in the material gathered here that should 

perhaps not have surprised me. It was striking, for example, how many of the pieces were either a 

meditation on or an outcry of grief, if not both. And in just as many, a call is being answered—from a 

dream, from spirits, ancestors, or animals—a call that shows the writer where she needs to go, and

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