Since March, fifteen months after putting my current writing project on hold, I have been struggling to get back on track. Lots of false starts. Wasted words. Is my writer’s block an aftereffect of my first encounter in January with the coronavirus? Is it the new medication that my doctor has prescribed to lower my high blood pressure? So much has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in March 2020. Our world has changed. I have changed.
I suffered yet another blow with the discouraging news from the United Nations about our slow global response to reducing carbon emissions. Instead of working to cut our emissions by levels recommended by the global climate science community, we continue to release carbon dioxide at renewed speed into Earth’s atmosphere. A more recent report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), released on May 10th, presents an even more dire situation for humanity. We face a 50:50 chance of the annual average global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5°C [2.7℉] above the pre-industrial level for at least one of the next five years – and the likelihood is increasing with time. What’s more, there is a 93% likelihood of at least one year between 2022-2026 becoming the warmest on record and dislodging 2016 from the top ranking.
Faced with this reality of life on Earth, my writing project about the woman as a social construct seems meaningless. Is this the best way of living out my elder years during this cycle of life? Should I focus more on our global existential climate and ecological crisis? That night I went to bed filled with anxiety and doubt about my path ahead.
During the early hours of May 11th, I awoke from a strange dream. The former Mother Superior of the religious community of which I was once a member (1971-1977) visited me in my dream state. She did not speak. She just looked at me with caring eyes. I lay in bed, reflecting on her unexpected visit since her passing in 2018. In 1977, she knew that I was not yet ready to take on the challenges I faced after volunteering to live in the community’s convent in Guyana’s remote rainforest interior region. She must know I am ready now to share my experience and insights of what it means to be a woman in a world dominated by men. In our modern era of nuclear arms, the male go-to response for conflict resolution remains one of violence and war.
When I awoke later that morning, I knew I had to continue working on my writing project. But I needed to refocus the theme to one of empowering women to take our rightful place beside men to address our looming calamity as a species. For centuries, we have worked alongside our men—as inferior beings—to raise our families, till the land, rear the cattle, and build our homes. If we are to save ourselves as a species, this unequal male-female social construct must change. The future of humanity depends upon the male and female of our species—and all the evolving genders of our time—working together as equal partners.
Since the second week in May, I have been working with renewed purpose to rewrite the Introduction of my book, a work of creative nonfiction, with this new focus. I plod ahead at a hundred or more words a day. I have not yet found a steady stride, but I am back on track. In time, I hope to regain my running speed to make it to the finish line in 2023.