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.

27 comments:

Janelle said...

oh wow reya! sounds amazing. indeed. this is a VERY IMPORTANT moment in the history of our time. and how meaningful that mr obama is treating it so. with great revelance. keep us posted! xxx j

Janelle said...

WHOA! what? meant reverance!!!! xxx

Reya Mellicker said...

Janelle - wish you could sing and dance and weave your magic at the Lincoln this weekend. Wouldn't that be something?

tut-tut said...

Janelle should come galloping, galloping . . .

very powerful photos. I hadn't realized that Obama would be replicating Lincoln's route.

Greg said...

I like the idea of the concert at Antietam. An ancestor of mine (Confederate) survived that battle and a number of others. But so many from both sides didn't.

We have never fully laid to rest the ghosts of that war. Thanks for your healing spirit!

Rebecca Clayton said...

Wow indeed! I wish I could see all this. My one inauguration experience was with George H.W. Bush--I was working downtown near the White House, and saw enough of the preparations to convince me not to attend. Any outdoor appearance of Ronald Reagan brought out really scary security precautions. "Bush 41" overturned some of Regan's "traditions" and D.C. eventually became somewhat less hostile to citizens on the streets.

I hope you'll keep telling us all about what's happening from your unique perspective. I'm loving the chance to read all about it!

Reya Mellicker said...

And he's being sworn in with his hand on Lincoln's bible.

Big magic! Wow!

janis said...

wow! That is so cool. No better words than Wow! I wish my Annie (18yr 1st time voter daughter) could be there! Her excitement thrills me.

Barb Mann said...

I'm so glad we all have an eyewitness in you, Reya! I imagine the excitement will begin to build starting tomorrow; I think it's beginning to be palpable even way out here. The weather will help--you're due to start warming up to normal (winter cold) in the next 24 hour.
Barb

milly (elephants&redwoods) said...

beautiful picture......

Auntie, aka cagny said...

once again, cool pics.
Today's New York Post published Obama's open letter to his daughters. It's so touching.

BTW,Mr. Peanut sits on a bench in Atlantic City. Boyfriend & I go there to shop, eat, and enjoy the boardwalk. We're not into gambling.

Stay warm! It's c-c-c-cold up here in NYC too!

crone51 said...

Those photos are perfect. Gorgeous. We did get tickets so we will be there with bells on ( whatever that means) I do wish we could be there for the concert. Music is the perfect way to bring healing. Beautiful. Stay warm! Enjoy the stillness while it lasts...

ArtSparker said...

The first photo looks pregnant with events about to unfold. The second one also suggests birth or a birth passage.

Reya Mellicker said...

Susan you are so good! They do look pregnant!

lakeviewer said...

Reya,
Thanks for focusing your lense on the big event we are all waiting for. And you are so right to label it a Ritual of grand proportions, Let's all bow our heads and absorb the power of the moment.

sixtyfivewhatnow.blogspot.com

willow said...

Mr. Lincoln would be so proud. I'm getting goosebumps just reading this, Reya. wow.

karen said...

hi Reya - what amazing photos...looking forward to experiencing the inauguration through bloggers'eye views!

JOY said...

Awesome observations Reya. It's great to hear how D.C. is paused for this historic event that will sweep down upon us and take our breath away. Praise Be!

Carolyn said...

Reya, I am so enjoying living vicariously through you right now. Your photos are wonderful. And without putting too much pressure on Obama may the healing be worldwide.
Smiles

Ronda Laveen said...

So many soldiers were killed at Antietam. So many souls, in your older part of the country, that have not yet moved on. I feel it. The karma there is far more complex than out west. We are younger. I will check in on Sunday and ask if any want assistance in going home. It would nice to be able to do some healing work on the soils at those memorial sites. I will ask some of my friends to help. Thanks.

mia said...

We were going to come down to see it, I got an invitation, but opted to stay home and celebrate with friends. Your pictures are amazing, and I love the blog.

kathi said...

Hi Reya,
I've been following your photos and stories. I love the photos you take using reflections and then reflect on them yourself. A unique perspective that I love.

Joanne said...

The whole world is watching, waiting for D.C.'s curtain to rise.

Gary said...

I heard today that our school is making plans for everyone to watch the inauguration in the auditorium, which will be fantastic. I think I would prefer to be in the midst of it all but am sure that this is one of those moments in history when you will remember what you were doing at the time, who you were with and where.

UN JOUR DANS VOTRE VIE said...

Hi Reya,
This is my second time to comment on your blog:-) As always, your blog is very informative and the pictures are all great.
I am from the Philippines and I also await eagerly the new president's inaguration. I heard that one of the performers will be a young girl from my country by the name of Charice. She's very good. Can I ask you a favor and give an extra clap after her performance?
Hope I can be one of your blog fellows?
Beng

Lover of Life said...

We just moved from Minnesota - I know what you mean about the stillness. I had never lived anywhere where all the birds and wildlife were, literally, GONE!

hele said...

Seeing this event, and the beautiful trees that surround you, through a magical lens is a real gift for which I thank you.

I am in love with the dancer with a tail and the silent dancer in front of the obelisk.