One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.
— from Richard Blanco’s “One Today”
No one ever thinks it will happen, until it does.
No one thought the day our first black President would be inaugurated for a second term would come, but it did (or, well, many hoped but it was a nasty election… etc).
No one even fathomed that the person swearing in the Vice President would be a Hispanic woman, who also happens to be the third woman who has ever served as Supreme Court Justice.
No one could have ever surmised that the poem read before well over 800,000 people would have been written by an openly-gay Cuban exile. (On the other hand, it seems everyone could have told you people’s reactions to poetry would be in the dumbfounded spectrum.)
Four years ago, no one could believe Barack Obama was becoming our 45th President, until he was, under the gray skies of a skin-chappingly cold winter day.
Fifty years ago, no one could believe that so many people would show up to support what now seems logical and even taken for granted: that we are all equal. Beautifully equal. Despairingly equal. Plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face equal. But they did.
We can’t know how life will go. But there is a certain bitter-sweetness about measuring time in terms of Presidential Inaugurations: the years seem shorter and longer at the same time, and we can see our progress and yet the sameness of the process that has been happening for over two hundred years.
Four years ago, I was (I thought) happily married and very, very pregnant.
Today I find myself with a growing trove of happy and sad memories. I have a seven-year old and an almost-four-year old. I have a cordial ex-husband, and a fragile relationship with him. I also have a sad, dear mom, whose memories of those who have passed have come back with a vengeance today.
Time passes for us all, and no pretty words make that fact any easier.
It’s good, then, that days like these come along, to remind us to celebrate things larger than ourselves, and to be properly awed.