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Time bends and ancestral voices whisper in the ears of those who will but listen — Thoughts on the theme — April 2022

In Ani.Mystic, author Gordon White posits that ancestors and other intentional beings work through our thoughts to bring about shifts in how we perceive life, nature and each other. All those impulses we think originate within our own minds, he says, might be whisperings from a long-forgotten wisdom keeper, or the echo of an ancient river that knows better than us what it needs to thrive. Perhaps our greatest need is to be quiet enough to hear what wants to speak through us.

This often seems the case with Works In Progress. No matter what our intentions are for each month, the themes themselves have a way of revealing to editors what they want said. For April, we invited the community to submit stories related to how we use—or misuse —time. We just didn’t realize the submissions would reveal as much about the messengers as their messages. And though we didn’t directly receive any telegraphed thought forms from ancient beings, we’re fairly sure they’re well represented on the following pages through the words and actions of young people in our midst, who are very clear about the world directives they’ve embraced.

These emerging leaders jump off the following pages in photographs from the Youth Climate Strike in downtown Olympia last month. The story of the march, too, is written by an emissary from the future, WIP’s 20-year-old intern from The Evergreen State College. Their love, anger and resolve are provocative and purposeful. In other words, they’re kicking ass and taking names.

New thinking is also represented in this issue by the article on appropriate technology. Written by a collective of Evergreen students, the piece confronts some of our most cherished beliefs about which solutions to implement to mitigate climate change. The questions the article raises aren’t so much about whether rocket mass heaters and micro-grids are better alternatives or not, but whether we can make room in our minds for ideas that challenge what we think we know.

As our story on the Deschutes River estuary shows, undoing short-sighted decisions can take a lifetime. Some of the estuary’s most ardent advocates were relatively young when they began warning the community about the multiple negative consequences of damming Budd Inlet. We can only be thankful they had the vision and stamina to sustain a long campaign that is far from finished. Be sure to read the Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team’s cautionary statement under the photo on page 9.

As one generation comes up, another recedes, joining the world of the unseen. One of WIP’s founding members, a contributor until just before his death, Dave Jette takes his final bow in this issue. Some of the most interesting facts about Dave’s life didn’t make it into our too-brief survey of his legacy but the overriding lesson remains: Dave spent his earthly time well and the fruits of his writing endure as whispers to new readers.

So even though WIP forgot to ask writers specifically for Earth Day content for the April issue, our readers—and through them the spirits of the land and water—remembered. In words and actions, they speak in this issue for the rivers, the sky, the swimmers, the creepers, the fliers, and  the forests. Even so-called pond scum, actually a vital element in a healthy river, has a say. Happy Earth Day.       —LL


Upcoming themes

May: Hostages to the future.

It’s moving ahead, with or without us. Who’s keeping track? Is change the same as progress? Is being human still a good thing? Who gets to decide? Deadline April 15.

June: What moves us.

What moves us emotionally and does sentiment lead to change? What other ways are we moved? Is being moved always a good thing or only when we welcome it? What happens when we’re forcibly moved, physically or into a different way of thinking or behaving?   Deadline: May 16


About the cover

Youth climate strikers and their supporters marched from the Capitol to City Hall on Friday, March 25, where they placed an earth flag on the sidewalk sculpture and listened to speakers and local musicians. More images from the strike throughout this issue. Read a synopsis of the strike on next page.

All climate strike photos, including the cover, were taken by Lindsey Dalthorp.

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Students from area high schools and their supporters* staged a…