Saturday, January 24, 2009

Traveling north on the silver star.....

I traveled by train north on the Silver Star in the early morning of January 17, 2009. There were others sitting with me, and though strangers, our pilgrimage was much the same. Onward we traveled through small towns and large ones: Southern Pines, Cary, Raleigh, Rocky Mount, Petersburg, Richmond, and Alexandria until we stopped on the tracks laid at Union Station. And on this same day, traveling south would be another man, far from ordinary, who we bestowed, the title of our next President: all hopeful that he would do extraordinary things.

And in the days that followed, others from all over the country and the world converged to be personal witnesses to this time in history. There was energy in the air throughout my days there, and though I had been to this city numerous times this was somehow different. And through my personal lens, it was in this difference that we embraced, collectively creating the beginnings of a new America where this possibility of inclusiveness was close at hand.

Everywhere we went, the back stories of individuals from Boston, San Antonio, and Chicago; Memphis, San Francisco and Tuskegee; Seattle, Little Rock and Charlotte breathed. We breathed deeply the individual reasons that brought us there in the first place; we breathed in the cold air of our collective history and, in silence, we possibly forgave our past injustices. We breathed and breathed some more, experiencing the joy alongside millions of others knowing that this marked the beginning, not the end.

And if, on the morning of January 20, 2009, in a city where millions converged from the United States Capitol well past the shadow of the Washington Monument is but a sign of times to come. Where kindness, thoughtfulness and optimism prevailed; then, I am hopeful that each one of us, will collectively pay it forward in our daily lives and in the work that still needs to be done.
I am fully aware that I am putting Barack Obama up on the highest pedestal. I know that he is just a man. I know there will be moments that he will disappoint; moments where disagreement, tension and conflict will arise. However I also know that if hope is what we long for, if change is what we seek; then I choose to walk alongside such a man in creating a positive vision of tomorrow.

In the wake of the new day, in front of the house on Capitol Hill, Phil and I stood alone underneath the streetlight waving to the 44th President of the United States as the Presidential entourage passed by on their way to Union Station. Though I have know way of knowing, I have to believe that Barack and Michelle waved back.

Leaving Union Station, I travel once again by train on the Silver Star in the late afternoon of January 22, 2009. There are others traveling with me, and no longer strangers the pilgrimage somehow changed us. Onward we traveled through small towns and large ones: Alexandria, Richmond, Petersburg, Rocky Mount, Raleigh, Cary, and Southern Pines until we reached the tiny town of Hamlet. And I, stepping off the train, stood still until the train moved slowly south, waving to these once upon a time strangers and the words of Barack Obama, our 44th President of these United States echoed through the silence of this Carolina night:
'Let it be told to the future world that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it.'

“America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words; with hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come; let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon…..

With your eyes fixed on the horizon, look forward to possibility and continue seeking those spirit lines in your field of dreams. Until next time......Teach.