Cerulean Sunrise

Up before the sun
Finn and I were treated to a glorious sunrise
Full of color and promise and hope

Today is the inauguration of Tom and Frances Wolf as governors of our state.
Big day in the neighborhood. They live in the little town over the creek and up the hill.
I can see the smoke rising from her studio when her brushes are flying.
The local firehouse is hosting a pancake breakfast.
The bus for the school band just drove by on
their way to play for the festivities.

I”m deeply proud to know these two human beings
and excited to see what good will come of their tenure.
Parades and balls have been replaced by art exhibitions to honor
the creative heros in our state. Imagine that.

Stay tuned…
Easels everywhere will be humming…

In honor of this, and other inaugurational mornings,
here are the words of Maya, written for Bill’s first,
may the simple hopes rise up to meet us all…

On the Pulse of Morning

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers- desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot…
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours- your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

Change is gonna come

I was standing in the studio kitchen this morning, anchoring the cherry pitting machine to the counter, and figuring out how to position the bowls to catch the pits and cherries, when the phone rang. It was Herself telling me to get over to the log cabin…they just overturned DOMA. I had been monitoring the radio closely and, hearing no reports so far, and since so many got last year’s healthcare ruling wrong in the beginning, I was skeptical. So I went to the computer and when the word “unconstitutional” flashed on the screen the tears just poured out of me. I stumbled along the path to the cabin sobbing and into the arms of my babe. The rainbow flags filled the tv screen behind her and everyone in those crowds seemed to be crying as well.

It’s mid-afternoon now. The pie just came out of the oven. Herself has headed up to the lake for a swim. Most of the tissues have been carried to the trash bin. Our facebook family has overwhelmed the cyberworld with cheers of support. I’ve listened to my trusted commentators and read the ruling from the supremes. And I’m sitting here quietly now taking in the surprising depth of the morning’s  first emotional response.

My belief has never wavered, but the torch was getting heavy and along the way it became easier to just settle for the life we had made with each other and hope for some broader equality to come for our grandchildren, both the straight and the gay ones. It’s still a very real fear to be openly gay in our neck of the woods and the scars of bigotry and hatred have not faded from my heart. So, over the last 23 years, we have kept a modest profile and done our best to be good neighbors and help where we can and kept the curtains drawn.

I think that surprising burst of emotion came in part from seeing the recent swelling of  national support for gay rights and equality, and the fact that so many more somebodies stood up and said no more, this is wrong, we have made a mistake, we have caused injustice. I was expecting change, but not certain it would be in my lifetime. And then to read in the SCOTUS Ruling that they recognized how this has been so hurtful to families and stigmatized children. NOT the homosexuality mind you…but the differentiation of CIVIL rights…

writing for the majority opinion, Kennedy notes,

“…The differentiation demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the constitution protects…And it humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.  Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways. “

What he said.

There’s more pavement to travel on this road to equality.
Pennsylvania was one of those states which couldn’t run fast enough to the capitol to pass a version of DOMA. And it’s not yet clear how the details will play out for those of us still living under such regimes. But we have the law on our side now, and a magnificent candidate now running for governor, Tom Wolf.

And we have the momentum.
As our dear friend Maureen reminded us in a note of support today,

In the words of Martin Luther King “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

As she left for the lake,
on her way out the studio kitchen door,
Pat paused and looked back
and asked, “will you marry me?”

Now, at last, I can say yes.

arent we aging well