THIS is what democracy looks like!

Chants of "This is what democracy looks like! This is what equality looks like! This is what feminism looks like!" rang throughout downtown DC today as hundreds of thousands of women, men, and children marched on Washington. Pussyhats in every shade of pink spangled the crowd, while a vast array of sharp, creative signs bounced up and down like so many babies on mamas' hips. 

Over the past few days, it came to pass that my undergraduate thesis advisor decided to march in DC rather than St. Louis (she now teaches at Wash U). Marie was one of the best professors I had at Northwestern, a powerful, inspiring role model, and a sharp-as-a-tack woman with a real wit. She came into my life as I was really starting to figure out who I was and who I wanted to be. To this day I am grateful for her presence during those years.

We have stayed in touch over the years, at times more regularly than others as happens with lives and children and moves, and the spot in my heart she stole back in 1996 has remained hers. So it goes without saying that when I offered her a place to stay while she was here for the march and she said, "I'd love that." I was thrilled. It'd been about fourteen years since we'd last seen each other.

This morning, as we donned our pussyhats, gathered up our signs, water bottles, snacks, and phone chargers, and headed to catch our bus with a thousand other supporters of Congressman Raskin (MDs 8th!), it occurred to me that participating in the Women's March with a woman who played such a role in the development of my self as woman was extraordinarily meaningful

As Marie and I marched, every bit of the heartbreak and sadness I struggled with yesterday was replaced today with hope. With the aggregate hope and determination and strength and fire of people who are appropriately outraged and disgusted and who know that we must be and are better than the petty, ignorant, pathetic, yappy toddler the electoral college elected.

The crowd, more than double what the organizers expected, was...gosh, words almost fail me right now. A huge, teeming mass of people with signs, strollers, even dogs, was polite, generous, friendly, determined. They were from all over this country, they were straight, gay, trans, they were young, old, black, white, Asian, Muslim, Jewish, progressive Christian, atheist. There was not a hint of violence or bad behavior (other than the Trump supporter who was sternly reprimanded). There was respect. They were happy. Together we felt hope.

Because hundreds of thousands turned out, we filled the march route without moving. The same was true in Chicago. The marching part of the march was called off. We became, instead, a glorious free-form rally, covering the Mall and blocks of Independence and Constitutions Avenues among many others. 

EXTREME hat tip to Chang W. Lee of the NY Times; please don't mind that I borrowed your gorgeous photograph (but of course if you do, I'll take it down.) Women's March in DC

EXTREME hat tip to Chang W. Lee of the NY Times; please don't mind that I borrowed your gorgeous photograph (but of course if you do, I'll take it down.)
Women's March in DC

The real work begins tomorrow. The hope will at times be hard to maintain in the face of lies about inauguration crowd sizes and attempts to fully discredit the press, further investigation into Trump-Putin collaboration and the clown car of cabinet nominees bumbling through their hearings. In the face of the misogynistic backlash of tweets that has already begun. I pity and am sickened by those deplorable men, but their pathetic words can't diminish the joy and awe and anticipation I felt today.

In some way, I believe the outpouring of righteous reaction today changed the course of things (I hope, I think), started to right our dangerously listing ship. I am grateful to the organizers of the march, to everyone who either marched today or were with us in spirit, who knitted and shipped us pussyhats, who made signs, who inspired signs, who organized the more than 670 sister events both nationally and and internationally who remained calm and warm and dignified and strong.

We are the resistance! And we are on the right side of history.

The Women's March on Washington

Not much better but I will march as long as my stamina allows.

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Tramp: Make Russia Great Again

Tramp: Make Russia Great Again

I imagine those last two need no explaining.

Today was heartbreaking. That not an hour after the inauguration, WhiteHouse.gov had deleted its Climate Change, LGBTQ Rights, and Civil Rights pages is both appalling and scary. Trump has already issued an executive order repealing a mortgage-fee reduction — geared at helping first-time and low-income home buyers- that President Obama issued last week. Snopes has already issued rebuttals against Trumper claims that the inauguration was "hugely attended" today. It was not. If you see pictures of big crowds and blue skies, they're lies. Today was rainy and gray, overcast the ENTIRE day, and all reputable crowd checkers put today's crowd at under a million. That's less than half the number that attended Obama's first inauguration. 

I send a big hug to all who feel the complete discomfort that I do. Let's fight!

Hawks and viruses and dreaded inaugurations

Today I wanted to write about H is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald's masterfully written book about one woman's grief journey following her father's death. An ardent, experienced naturalist, Macdonald obtains a beautiful hawk, Mabel, and we follow them through their first year hawking together, through Helen's mourning and depression and processing the loss of her father, and through a book, The Goshawk by T.H. White, that both captured Macdonald's imagination as a child and also troubled her.

I started reading it just after last fall's presidential election. The timing was coincidental but in the curious way that things are coincidental when they seem to make sense and have been fated. 

With sadness, I finished H is for Hawk last weekend when Tom and I were away, and had plans to tell you all about it today. I found it both mesmerizing and healing, and if that sounds good to you, add it to your list! Then I was going to get dressed in a new ball gown and tonight go with friends to the Peace Ball being held at the Museum of African American History and Culture. We were going to celebrate tolerance and diversity and to resist the black cloud sweeping over DC tomorrow.

Most unfortunately, though, I have been sick in bed for all but an hour and a half today. Thirty minutes desperately trying to get the kids ready for school this morning (Tom was traveling for work) and an unpleasant hour at Urgent Care tonight. 

I'm too wiped out to tell you more about the book and why it was my favorite read since All the Light We Cannot See and it is with great sadness that I keep casting my eyes toward that pretty gown hanging in a plastic garment bag in my closet.

It seems today has played out personally all the awfulness so many of us have felt since November 9, the worry and shock we have repeatedly experienced as the Vulgar Yam appoints insultingly unqualified cabinet nominees, and the dread we feel about tomorrow's inauguration and the years to follow.

I will not be watching any part of tomorrow's spectacle. Instead I'll be making signs for Saturday's March. I'll be resting in the hopes of proving the doctor wrong who tonight recommended against me going. I'll be sending out vibes of appreciation to the progressive city in which I live. And I will think about how mightily I have been fighting and how strenuously I will continue to resist.