Inauguration Day

**I’m going to do a little something different today and use the inaugural poem by Elizabeth Alexander as a framework for my daily 365. Only my words will count towards the daily word count total.**

Praise song for the day.
Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others' eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.
Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

I had to remind myself to step out of my morning routine. To sit down with my daughter and watch the inauguration today. My brain, hell bent on keep track of my to-do list, kept chattering at me “You can watch this later, DVR it if you must,” “You can read the speeches and such tonight after the kids go to bed,” “You don’t really need to watch this.” After about 15 minutes I sat down, turned on NBC and watched the inauguration. It’s amazing to me how I could let my mind talk me out of watching such an historic event. In favor of laundry or dishes or anything.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."

And I wonder, how will I ever explain to The Boy and The Girl, ages 5 and 2, why this man, speaking on the TV, has made Mama cry. How can I present this day to them in such a way that they will understand its glory and triumph?

We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; words to consider, reconsider.
We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side; I know there's something better down the road."
We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

I’ve never really been able to put into adequate words why I am so passionate about this country and its politics. Its history and rhyme and reason. But I am. I could point to 9/11 or to the outgoing president as cause for my recently lackluster view points or to the war or the economy for my apathetic response to world events. But at the end of the day, none of that is to blame or covers my pull back from participation. They are all just scapegoats in the face of packing it all in for self-preservation.

Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.
Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Trying to create a life within the echo of tragedy, fear and disaster. Trying to protect my children from pain. Trying to protect us all from judgment. But you can’t hide from an echo. It surrounds you with its ethereal voice and drowns out everything else until it’s had its say. So you have to figure out how to keep yourself and your family safe while having the courage to listen. Try to figure out how to be brave enough to learn, so that you can teach your children not only how to survive, but how to prosper.

Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self."
Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.
What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.
In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.

So that you can teach them how to love. Simply. Beautifully.

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