Left Honolulu last night on a flight jammed with tourists, students heading back to school, and a few business people and local families. Flew all night through the dark skies to Chicago. Then, to Sioux Falls, South Dakota where I was picked up by Erin Thin Elk, interim director for diversity at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. She's nimble on ice in her heels! Now that's a skill! We drove over the plains, catching up on families, as if we had known each other for years. I'm impressed by her bright spirit.
Then, as she drove us over the flat plains of her ancestral lands to Vermillion, we listened to Obama's speech. Perfect. To ride the opening wave of change with an old-young friend in the middle of the country. And to perch our ears together to hear the eloquent new leader of this young nation who has vision, who can speak. Obama's mind is clear, without knots and connects directly to his heart and the heart of the people. He listens to his ancestors.
Later, over lunch with students and faculty of the university, we all noted that there was no reference to the original inhabitants of this country in his speech. Yes, there is still much work to be done.
Now I am back in the hotel room, about to crash after being up all night. I am watching Obama and Michelle walk the street the last blocks at the end of the parade. I can see their bullet proof vests bulging in their clothes. I can hear Michelle thinking. She's exhausted, yet high. The responsibility is all hitting her, like the feeling after just giving birth. What have I gotten myself into? Yet, she will walk directly forward and will do her best.
What a day. (Or is it two days?)
P.S. Congrats Elizabeth on your poem!