A Walk in Salem

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Though it felt like winter today — grey skies, cold air, winter chill wind — there were delightful reminders that spring really is here.  Carol and Mary and I had spent yesterday evening and last night together, trying to solve the problems of the world connected to the disconnect of violence against women.  We all run statewide domestic and sexual violence coalitions, so we have a lot in common, we are all exhausted and exhilarated by our jobs, and we have so much to talk about whenever we get together we can hardly stop long enough to get to bed and get some sleep.

This morning we got up and started talking again.  We went for a walk around Salem, Massachusetts where Mary lives, talking the whole time.  Salem is a lovely, seaside town, with a famous witch history and centuries-old colonial houses crowded on narrow streets. In spite of the cold, we saw early blooms, trees holding buds like pearls, about-to-burst magnolias and outdoor seating areas just beginning to look like they might be habitable again some day.

We were talking about tough stuff — the ridiculous feuding in different factions of the movement to end violence against women which feels like junior high drama, the almost total dysfunction of the criminal justice system in supporting victims and holding offenders accountable, the very scary budgetary issues everyone is facing, the way our jobs take over our lives so that we can barely find time to adequately feed ourselves. Literally. But as we walked and talked we saw gardens and beautiful old houses, hard wind pushing the Atlantic up over the rocks and all those tight buds on trees starting to loosen up.  We stopped and asked a woman trimming a wisteria vine about an abandoned house and got a 20 minute mini-lecture on the history of Salem, because she can trace back seven great-grandfathers to the founders of the city.

Hard work, cold wind, budding tulips and good friends.  A good day.

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About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
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One Response to A Walk in Salem

  1. Sue says:

    Good to read you are walking and talking and ‘being present’ all at the same time. Totally connect with the sentiments of your post.
    In solidairty and celebration!
    Sue

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