Thursday, January 15, 2009
All I can say is Wow.
A series of non-days preceding the inauguration continues. By "non-day" I mean quiet, colorless, empty. No tourists, no one is out and about. It's the proverbial moment of waiting to exhale.
The weather, too, is contributing to this week of non-days. Though we saw a little bit of blue yesterday, mostly the sky was shrouded by a dull gray film behind which the sun looked like a big grayish-white blob. And it's cold, really really cold - for Washington DC, should say. Certainly right now it's colder in Minnesota or Vermont than here, but we're not used to it. The gray and the cold have created an environment of extreme quiet. Even the birds have restrained themselves these last few days. It's eerie.
Saturday Obama will take the train into DC from Philadelphia, following the route that Lincoln took to his inauguration. Sunday there's going to be a huge concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Though the stage will be packed with celebrities, the event is not meant to be a showcase for their greatest hits. Instead, U-2, Bruce Springstein and others will sing songs about the Civil Rights movement, Lincoln, freedom, etc.
Years ago I dreamed of doing a live concert for the dead at Antietam (a Civil War battlefield) as a way to bring healing to that powerful place. This Sunday it's happening! Not at Antietam but instead, right across the river from Arlington National Cemetery, at the Lincoln, next to the Vietnam Memorial. That part of the mall is seriously haunted - ask anyone who has visited the Vietnam Memorial or our huge graveyard for dead soldiers. It's intense.
This inauguration is being structured exactly like a ritual intended to bring healing to the most awful of our national wounds. If I and my former colleagues had tried, we could not have created a more powerful outline for this rite of passage. The election of Obama, the inauguration plans, the non-days, including of course, the weather, are components of a recipe for healing on a national scale. We need healing, big time.
Honestly, I am blown away.
And, for the moment, enjoying the stillness.