img_1333I heard them before I saw them, heard them almost the whole time I was there, the cacophony reaching over the trees, across the marsh, elbowing against the wind.

Only a small flock of the snow geese floated in Gordon’s Pond where I was walking, but hundreds (thousands?) flew overhead, making their way to somewhere just west of me.

I was a little disappointed. I wanted to see their glistening white plumage with its striking black underside. But I knew they were there, took pleasure in hearing them until the wind and the surf and the distance between us finally erased their clamor but not their imprint.

~ ~ ~

prideHe gazed at the flags with a kind of longing. “Look at them….” he murmured in amazement. The bright rainbow stripes wrapped around young shoulders, heads of multi-hued hair above them, warm laughter bouncing across the grass. He’d never been so close to such a public display of pride.

“Let’s go talk to them,” I suggested, “maybe get a picture.”

A grin cracked open his practiced, hardened face, all white teeth, vulnerability and validation. I can still feel the glow coming off him, days later. He had found his people.

~ ~ ~

with-my-friendsWalking back, we guessed at the impact, wondered at our place in history.

At nineteen, he hadn’t needed his parents’ permission to come to the march. New to the States, they had been worried and feared for his safety. But he came anyway, wanting–needing, really–to be there, to feel seen and heard.

“What do you want to tell your parents when you get home?” I asked.

“I want them to know how much support we have,” he said. “Not just from Latinos, but everyone. So much support...

He lapsed into quiet as the insight sank in.

~ ~ ~

Post Script 1/29/2017: I drafted this post before the insanity of the last 48 hours had begun to unfold. Lacking anecdote but not appreciation, I’ll add national park rangers, scientists and lawyers to my list. For all of those who are staying up nights, finding ways to use the justice system and knowledge and wisdom and common sense to combat what Trump hath wrought: thank you. It is not just good to know you are there, it is important you are there.

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