Todays Walk: It Begins

It begins when I know that silence will hurt me and those I love, when the comfort of my life will not insulate me from the damage that will afflict millions for years to come if I am silent.

It begins with a 4 a.m. ride to the airport on Inauguration Day to catch a 6:30 a.m. flight to Baltimore. It begins with the bleary eyes and determined smiles of enough marchers, many of them march-virgins like me, to fill a Southwest Boeing 737 plane. It begins with smiles and shouts of encouragement as we all stream off the plane four and a half hours later to wherever we have cadged housing for the weekend.

It begins the next morning when we start the way we start any walk. Boots on, coats zipped, uncertainty about what we will find. There are the last-minute pocket checks with husband and friends who are sharing their apartment with us so we can all march together today. It begins with a step, then another, and then the four of us melt into twenty, fifty, then hundreds who have abandoned the metro and are walking the two miles down to the place where we all intend to walk some more.

It begins with cutting across a park where mostly men and a few women who normally gather their to wait out one more homeless day watch our warmly-dressed selves flocking with other warmly-dressed people bearing signs, wearing smiles, not quite looking back at those who are watching.

It begins with sense we are close now, as we approach 7th street which is not far from the start, and is to be one of the places that, if all else, fails, will open and let us onto the march path when it is time. We feel the sense of arrival. Any minute now.

It begins with the press of bodies, the faces of children grinning from parental shoulders as they dodge signs toted by all those around them. We are body to body and more bodies keep coming as if the land itself is giving rise to them, birthing them in fertile bursts from all corners of the mall and beyond. I am minuscule cells in this giant swelling, sinuous, powerful muscle of humanity. Yet I am here. I am held up by the bodies around me. None of us can move single foot in any direction unless the others help us.

It begins with the understanding that we have, in fact, arrived. The official starting point is no longer reachable. The streets cannot contain us all and we’ve spilled out onto the mall, the side streets, the steps of stately buildings, lamp posts, the tops of rented vehicles used the previous day. When there is space, more bodies fill it. We must begin where we are. We must begin not knowing where it will lead. We must begin not knowing how long it will take, only knowing that to be here today is to commit to what is needed tomorrow, then the day after that, then the day after that.

It begins.

12 thoughts on “Todays Walk: It Begins

  1. I marched in D.C. and it’s the first time since November 9 that my heart hasn’t felt squeezed in a vice. Thank you for sharing your experience. It begins!

  2. Betsy, I’d hoped to be in Washington, and yet in the end I was right here in New Hampshire instead, which turned out to be just right. But I so love reading your account here. You capture the mood so beautifully — all the uncertainty, the hope, the determination. Wonderful! Thank you!

    • We were all in the right place. It was so thrilling to see the photos from Concord! Thrilling too to see the photos from all around the country and the globe. I’ve kept them to look at and to draw strength from each morning when I wake up and read about each new step to erode rights, health, safety and dignity from the majority of Americans.

  3. beautiful, betsy~ you captured how it felt for me in Montpelier, and for the others, everywhere.

    On Fri, Jan 27, 2017 at 8:47 PM, Elizabeth Marro wrote:

    > Elizabeth G. Marro posted: ” It begins when I know that silence will hurt > me and those I love, when the comfort of my life will not insulate me from > the damage that will afflict millions for years to come if I am silent. It > begins with a 4 a.m. ride to the airport on Inaugurati” >

  4. thank you for sharing this. I marched for my first time in Plymouth in England against Trump’s ban and I wrote my own post about my experience. Felt amazing to be a part of this movement

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