Hello, Dear Ones.
How does this moment, reading this, find you?
Me? I’m feeling much more buoyant since Wednesday. I’m happy for President Biden and Vice President Harris, but deeply dazzled by Amanda Gorman, the poet. She recited her poem with such power, presence, and grace. She used her body to convey her meaning to us; gesticulating with dancing hands, letting her voice melt us and inspire us with its fierceness, driving home her point with facial expressions—a furrowed brow, a lifted chin, a slow look of wonder in her eyes. She captivated me. She proved, once again, the incredible power of language. And I was further mesmerized by her when I watched Anderson Cooper interview her and then James Corden. She comes across as not only brilliant, but kind and gracious, generous, grounded and marvelously empowered. So excited for this young woman and where she’s going. (insert happy sigh here)
It feels good to be dazzled on inauguration day. It feels good to notice the calm in my being now, knowing there’s goodness, decency, and integrity in our country’s highest office. I’m so very much looking forward to dancing my joy with you tomorrow. I hope you’re feeling joyful & buoyant as well. It’s been a long and arduous journey and we’re not out of the COVID woods yet (and we certainly have much work still to do on the political front), but suddenly I have hope, which is such a fabulous coping mechanism.
I wish you well, my beautiful dancing friends.
I wish our country well.
I wish our world well. Let’s dance together tomorrow and call in the goodness (as well as the rain!)
It seems so profoundly right to me that our wise and loving Kathy Altman should be at the helm tomorrow, weaving a magical soundscape and dropping her pearls of wisdom in our collective pond.
Below, please find Amanda Gorman’s fabulous poem, The Hill We Climb. I’ve taken the liberty of adding bold italics to my favorite sections. Obviously, the entire work is masterful, but there are particular lines that are intoxicating music to my heart & soul. I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I do.
The Hill We Climb:
When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never ending shade?
The loss we carry. A sea we must wade.
We braved the belly of the beast
We’ve learned that quiet isn't always peace, and the norms and notions of what just is isn't always justice.
And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it.
Somehow we do it.
Somehow we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn't broken, but simply unfinished.
We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.
And, yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn't mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect.
We are striving to forge our union with purpose.
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.
And so we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.
We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.
We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true.
That even as we grieved, we grew.
That even as we hurt, we hoped.
That even as we tired, we tried.
That we'll forever be tied together, victorious.
Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one shall make them afraid.
If we're to live up to our own time, then victory won't lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we've made.
That is the promise to glade.
The hill we climb, if only we dare, it's because being American is more than a pride we inherit.
It's the past we step into and how we repair it.
We've seen a force that would shatter our nation, rather than share it, Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth, in this faith we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.
This is the era of just redemption.
We feared at its inception.
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour.
But within it we found the power to author a new chapter, To offer hope and laughter to ourselves.
So, while once we asked how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe, now we assert, how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be: a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free.
We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation, become the future.
Our blunders become their burdens.
But one thing is certain.
If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children's birthright.
So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left.
With every breath my bronze pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.
We will rise from the golden hills of the west.
We will rise from the windswept north, east where our forefathers first realized revolution.
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.
We will rise from the sun-baked south.
We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover.
And every known nook of our nation and every corner called our country, our people diverse and beautiful, will emerge battered and beautiful.
When day comes, we step out of the shade of flame and unafraid.
The new dawn balloons as we free it.
For there is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it.
If only we're brave enough to be it.