Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blogging the Inauguration: The Ceremony Wraps Up

As soon as Obama finishes speaking, people begin leaving. Seriously, it looks like the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. I can't even see or hear poet Elizabeth Alexander at times through the dispersing crowds. But the text is a gem.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,

praise song for walking forward in that light.

***

A last prayer, from the Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery. He looks old, his voice is weak, and he speaks in rhyme. "God of our weary years, God of our silent tears." Poignant, but what is this, "Horton Hears a Who"?

He quickly becomes the fan favorite, calling the Obama girls "our little angelics" and offering a great rhyming ending that plays on each racial group in the United States. He even had us shouting Amen.



We love him.


***

The inauguration ends with the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. I realize it's the first time in about six years that I have been asked to sing the song without feeling as though it's been coopted by a certain ideology. For the first time in a long time, I sing along.

***

The event over, people swarm forward to take photographs, and then follow the herd. As we leave the Capitol area, a whisper moves through the crowd, and people began to stop and look back. On the jumbotron, George and Laura Bush are getting into the helicopter.

People stop to look.

Within moments, the helicopter flies directly overhead. Ecstatic waving and cheering. It's hard to believe, but they're really gone.

Uh...buh-bye.

***

On the way home, my heat pads suddenly got so hot, I had to get them away from my skin.

It had only taken four hours.

But then again, if there was a moral to the day, from the early morning line to the President's speech to the helicopter departure, it was that good things take time.

So as I walked home I just tried to savor that moment of midwinter heat.

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