house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

The Morning After

I wrote earlier that I didn't know whether I had the strength to wake up on November 5th and find out who was the new president of the United States. And I didn't.

So I stayed up all night instead.

As a result, yesterday I was a bleary idiot, dropping things and pouring coffee on cereals. Admittedly, I was a happy idiot. Barack Obama had won and I had my life back. I was also a confused idiot: like you might feel at the end of a gripping book, still in the spell of the story, feeling vague and vacant, unsure what to do with yourself.

More sensible, Moona had had a good night's sleep and turned on the radio in the early morning. Before the children went to school, we all huddled around it and listened to Obama's victory speech. It was just getting light, the kitchen was cozy and smelled of fresh coffee and warm bread. The new president spoke of the progress and pain of a century and of our chance, now, to shape another.

We listened in silence, all four of us. Lights were glowing in the neighbours' houses, their chimneys sent thin snakes of smoke to join the morning mist. I reflected, again, on the power of inspired words; how speeches made by commanders before great battles once filled men with passion and propelled them to death or victory; how different stories can move people to choose their paths, to help or hurt others, to create or destroy, to struggle harder or let go and sink.

How important words can be. How this man's words spilling out of our small radio could start a wave that changes a country. How that change could itself send all the right ripples round the world.

There are obstacles: the 56 million Americans who voted against this possible future, to count but a few. Then the treacherous crests of our greed, weakness, wastefulness: our many vulnerabilities. The ailing planet. Above all, time. The sense that something enormous is in motion, and will not wait for us to sort ourselves out. The chilling suspicion that we've awoken the dragon.

But we need to hope and to try. We need to get on with it.

And I need to get back to Earth and dig out some brambles, move some bricks, plant some trees. Sounds about right: back-breaking but happy and hopeful, and definitely to do with the future.


At 8 November 2008 at 09:56 , Blogger Magnus said...

Brilliant. Our huddled moment by the radio well captured. JFK of our era. Will the kids remember this one as our parents remembered that? (well all they really talk about is the cuban missile crisis when they talk of J, but still, he had style). Despite my muddy boots and thorny looks, I'm still in the spell of the Obama moment too.


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