Awakening

~~ a Springtime quindecim

by tkbrown
The world slowly opens its eyes,
sleep lazily drifting away--
from a year of treatment trial
to real-life--so far from benign.
Changes await--careless and wise;
whate'er we do, whate'er we say,
the virus spreads 'mongst us still,
and more choose to brave the vaccine.
Beleaguered businesses devise
plans to re-open 'midst the fray;
some return with variant viral
increase showing no let-up sign.
What was is done, ne'er will it be
relived. The things--this day--we see
matter, e'en when we disagree.

Winds of Spring challenge Winter's droll
as temperatures rise and fall.
The "Lion," chased by frolicking "Lamb,"
skitters into the waking woods,
then returns with his empty bowl--
whistling sweetly, utters a call
to Springtime warmth, mimicking clam--
then lowers it to scoop his "goods."
Remnant sweetness drifts to the shoal,
settles against debris strewn wall--
although it did spare Birmingham--
while moving on to other 'hoods.
Awakening is bittersweet
as the month pulses to its feet
when Winter's cold and warmth do meet.

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As Winter draws to a close and Springtime opens her eyes, we all await warmer days with antsy anticipation. A combination of factors makes this "looking forward" even edgier this year: the Covid-19 pandemic, the social distancing and disinfecting protocols to protect self and others, the record-breaking snowfall and temperatures, the toll taken by both the pandemic and the weather. Even as we are hopeful for a year of recovery, health, happiness, and prosperity, we face new challenges in various forms. Look ahead with assurance of the fact: "This too shall pass," (Anonymous).

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Photo Above: by Gerd Altmann @pixabay.com.

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March 2021

~~ a calendar quindecim ~~

by tkbrown
March's April . . . 
As we float into March midst swollen banks
the forecast calls out for more days of rain.
Snowing and freezing of recent past ranks
among the worst recorded earthly pains.
Now, thawing, raining, and flooding ramp up;
predictions of severe weather winds wrap
coming days in showers and springtime temps
resembling April much more than March winds
to which we have become more accustomed.
The plowing and planting we want to tend
must wait for those winds to dry things a bit
when the soil for tilling will be more fit.
The winds with less rain blow in days of spring
when the crocus buds and the blue birds sing,
dusk temps are suited for the front porch swing.

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Photo Above: by AndreyKonstantinov@Unsplash.com.

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Women in American History

          by tkbrown

March 8 is International Women’s Day. Activities to celebrate this day began in 1911. The United Nations commemorated the day in 1978 and officially recognized it in 1980. That same year, President Jimmy Carter formally declared the nation’s first official National Women’s History Week beginning March 8, 1980: thus, explaining the choice of March 8 for International Women’s Day. With annual activities celebrating the achievements of women, the focus began to shift — highlighting issues of equality, opportunity, advancement and recognition of women vs men.

From a personal viewpoint, during the years of my childhood, little was said about women’s history, much less their rights. The sixties were dominated by the hippie movement and women across the nation began burning their bras — tsk, tsk — to recognize the celebrated masculinity and the virtual ignorance of contributions made by the feminine gender.

Inequality between men and women has existed through the ages. In the United States, the first woman known to have brought attention to this fact was Abigail Adams — wife and future First Lady to John Adams, Second President of the newly formed United States of America. On 31 March 1776, Ms Adams penned a letter to her husband and to the Continental Congress. In it, she asked that they “remember the ladies” as they worked to develop new laws suitable to the endeavors of a new nation under formation. She cautioned the men to “be more generous to the ladies than their ancestors had been.” Ms Adams went on to warn them of impending rebellion by ‘their ladies’ if the situation were not addressed because “the colonial women would not be bound by any laws not co-founded by them,” (Eds. history.com). Ms. Abigail Adams is not alone in addressing this cause. Many women in America have promoted women’s rights; some made history in so doing. Thus, from the outset, American women have run the gamut from imploring to demanding the American men remember their rights.

However, the new nation was busy with growth and development. For the most part, no one paid any attention to the women until Susan B Anthony was denied the right to speak at a temperance convention in 1841. She quickly added women’s rights to her alcohol and abolitionist endeavors. Anthony, a teacher raised in a Quaker household, was a staunch supporter of anti-slavery activity — through which she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The two co-founded the New York Temperance Society. Soon after, they formed the New York State Women’s Rights Committee, and Anthony served as an agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society. Joint efforts with Stanton eventually led her to head the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

In 1868, the two women began producing a weekly publication designed to promote women’s rights. The Revolution’s motto was “men their rights, and nothing more: women their rights, and nothing less,” (Eds, biography.com, 2019).

In a nation that prided itself upon freedom, justice and domestic tranquility, Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton shined a bright light on the inequality of men vs women by promoting women’s right to vote. Until they set about securing the passage of Amendment 19 to the United States Constitution, little thought was given to the fact that women had been denied freedom, justice and equality by being perceived as the property of husbands, fathers and brothers. The fact that women were denied the right to vote spoke volumes to women being viewed as non-persons. Other women involved in the Suffragists push for women’s right to vote were Carrie Chapman Catt, Clara Barton, Elizabeth Smith Miller and her daughter Annie Fitzhugh Miller to name a few. The National American Woman Suffrage Association holds a Collection of documents depicting the work of these women and many others — the size of which defies imagination. First introduced in Congress in 1878, the 19th Amendment was finally approved 4 Jun 1919, and on 26 August 1920, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the 19th Amendment’s ratification.

The push for women’s rights calmed a bit following ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. The Roaring Twenties, the Depression Era and World War II dominated the scene. During the latter, women took charge at home while men went to fight for world freedom. Jobs traditionally held by men were now filled by women. The stay at home lifestyle gave way to the country’s economic needs, the needs of servicemen overseas and the necessity of a paycheck to fund the home, food, clothing and other family needs. Some women even joined the men in the fight for freedom around the world.

With the end of World War II, the men returned to resume earning the paychecks and the women returned to the background — keeping the home fires burning — while launching a period of prosperity and the ‘baby boom.’ As the Vietnam War spawned the above-mentioned hippie movement, the focus was on ‘make love, not war’ as the desire for a return to peace flamed across the nation. Demonstrations for peace turned violent and the need for women in the workforce returned.

A burst of feminism resulted in newfound energy directed toward passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). First written by Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman, the original push for the ERA was proposed in 1923. Failing to pass Congress most every year until October 1971 when Representative Martha Griffiths introduced it once more, it finally passed the U.S. House of Representatives. It moved forward for Senate approval on 22 March 1972 and was submitted to State Congresses for ratification with a deadline of 22 March 1979. Thirty-eight states ratified the ERA, then four rescinded their state’s ratification. The legislatures extended the deadline to 30 June 1982 when, due to lack of additional ratifications, it was tabled.

In 1987, Congress declared March to be National Women’s History Month, and a special Presidential Proclamation issued every year highlights achievements of American Women. The United States, the United Kingdom and Australia have all designated March as the month for such celebrations. In Canada, Women’s History is recognized during the month of October. As efforts continue toward “Equality of Rights under a law designed to ensure that no right shall be denied or abridged by the United States — or by any State — on account of sex,” (Carter, 1980: quoted from MacGregor, 2019), the need for our message of equality at school, at work and at play continues.

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The image above by Marketa Machova from pixabay.com

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Sources:

Cohen, Sara E. (14 February 2020). 200 Years after Susan B Anthony’s Birth, Examining Her Role in the History of Women.s Voting Rights. Because of HER Story. Smithsonian. Washington D.C., USA. (2 March 2020). https://womenshistory.si.edu/news/2020/02/200-years-after-susan-b-anthony’s-birth-examining-her-role-history-women’s-voting.

Eds, biography.com, (16 July 2019), Susan B Anthony Biography: Editor, Civil Rights Activist, Publisher, Journalist (1820-1906). A&E Television Networks. (22 September 2019). https://www.biography.com/activist/susan-b-anthony.

Eds, First Ladies Biography. (2 March 2020). Abigail Adams. First Lady Biography. The National First Ladies’ Library. Canton, Ohio. (2 March 2020). http://www.firstladies.org/biographies/firstladies.aspx?biography=2.

Eds, history.com. (28 July 2018). Equal Rights Amendment passed by Congress. History. A&E Television Networks. (2 March 2020). https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/equal-rights-amendment-passed-by-congress.

Eds, history.com. (26 February 2019). Milestones in Women’s History: A Timeline. A&E Television Networks. (22 September 2019). https://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/womens-history-us-timeline.

Eds, Wikipedia. (23 February 2020). Equal Rights Amendment. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Project Powered by MediaWiki. (2 March 2020). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_Rights_Amendment.

Hamlin, Kimberly A. (1 March 2020). The problem with women’s history month in 2020. The Washington Post. WP Company LLC. Washington D.C., USA (2 March 2020). https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/03/01/problem-with-womens-history-month-2020/.

MacGregor, Molly Murphy. (2019). Why March is National Women’s History Month. National Women’s History Alliance; Santa Rosa, California. (2 March 2020). https://nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org/womens-history-month/womens-history-month-history/.

Researchers, Library of Congress. (13 June 2019). 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Primary Documents in American History. The Library of Congress: Web Guides. Washington D.C., USA. (2 March 2020). https://www.loc.gov/rr//program/bib/ourdocs/19thamendment.html#top.

Willingham, AJ. (1 Mar 2020). Why Women’s History Month is in March. Represented. CNN. Atlanta, Georgia (2 March 2020). https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/01/us/womens-history-month-why-march-trnd/index.html.

Zorthian, Julia. (1 March 2018). This is How March Became Women’s History Month. Time. Time USA, LLC. (2 March 2020). https://time.com/section/us/.

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Calendar Quindecims March

by tkbrown
March winds arrive with blustery sunshine chill
marching through forests, over hill and dale.
Through plains lands, swamplands, farmlands and cities,
o'er countryside filled with dogs and kitties,
she makes her presence known as birds chirp songs
heralding springtime's parading entrance:
bright yellow greens in variegating dance
with blazing white dazzle in royal throngs.
Colors of the rainbow fill ground and tree
as yards, orchards, forests call to the bee --
whilst a jubilant melody exudes
from the wren, robin and goldfinch etudes.
Home garden plantings, wheat land plantings too,
fill a hustling, bustling nonchalant hue
with lists of tasks and fun yet left to do!

Image by Jill Wellington of Pixabay

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