I turned off the news for what felt like the first time in five years the other day. Relaxed on my living room couch I held my beautiful four-month-old granddaughter while looking out over the snowy Vermont landscape. Pandora played a Grateful Dead song while I was breathing in the fountain of youth in my arms. Which song I couldn’t tell you, but I knew I had heard it before. The band’s sound as unique as the moment. I felt a sense of hope. I felt truly hopeful for my granddaughter’s future for quite possibly the first time.
A recent New Hampshire story told of a local resident’s discovery one morning last week as she awoke to find an uninvited guest feasting on the seeds in their birdfeeder. I started to think about black bear hibernation. How deeply do they sleep? How long has it been since I really slept? A black bear’s metabolism slows during denning. My hibernating metabolism had slowed down as the news from one day to the next kept me fully satiated in stress. I couldn’t help but feel that I was coming out of hibernation as I watched president elect Joseph Biden take the presidential oath of office. The sky once again was blue. A new day. A new administration. I was seeing the world and our country in a new and beautiful light. Renewal in action complimented by nature as the snowflakes drifted to earth landing on all of the invited dignitaries. The United States Capitol majestically adorned with the American flag and banners of our red, white and blue. The nightmare of the insurrection just two weeks earlier will sadly forever be in our memories, but this January 20, 2021 glory and splendor were on display.
I was hooked. No longer sitting hunched and weary but instead straight and tall. I inched my way to the edge of my seat and excitedly to a new and promising administration. Moisture streamed down my cheeks. Tears flowed. I was startled by the overwhelming emotion they represented. Rivers of happiness had carved their way down my face. I had been busy holding my breath for so long that the release felt as foreign as the civility and grace before my eyes. I had been afraid to cry before January 20th as I had feared the abyss of my feelings. For so long and a seemingly endless period of time I had struggled to understand the impact of the virus on our country. The Trump administration and yes, the pandemic too.
Relief? Elation? A return to the American inaugurations I had previously witnessed sans 2016? Familiarity immediately replaced fear and confidence replaced doubt. I felt assured that the man and woman standing before all of America and the world actually revered the words they were repeating in their oath of office. The welfare of the American people will once again be put first as they perform the duties of their office.
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Early this morning as I busied myself in the kitchen, music and not news floated through our small home. A new familiar song filled the warm house air. I quieted the dishes being washed as I hear my daughter’s voice talking and giggling with her daughter as she gets her ready for the day. Morning smiles are plentiful and endless. I will always remember the beautiful sound of that song…
“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” ~John F. Kennedy