I spent the weekend in the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver, BC and Seattle), and I have to say that it was one of the loveliest autumnal weekends I've had in a long time. It was alternately rainy, misty, foggy, crisp, clear, and smoky. And the fall colors were enjoying their last vibrant bursts of showy seasonality. There were swirls and cyclones of deciduous death, good coffee and pubs and plays and Rilke poems. It was glorious. And Explosions In the Sky and Fleet Foxes, which is always good music for fall.
Everyone everywhere seemed to be smiling, flying a kite, or eating artisan cheeses. Christmas decorations were going up in the department stores. Some Christians I was around were speaking poetically about the approaching Advent season.
Change was in the air. Goodwill in the streets. And now, as I write this in the Seattle airport, it is on the T.V. screens as well.
Monday was the day the Obamas went to visit the Bushes at the White House. The 43rd president--loathed and ridiculed the world wide--sat with the incoming, internationally beloved 44th president in the Oval Office in a beautiful display of what we are promised will be the smoothest transfer of presidential power in American history. The pictures of the two men, as well as some with their wives, struck me as sincere, significant, and a little healing.
After the long national nightmare that was this presidential election, we finally have closure, certainty, and (yes) hope. As Rilke might say: Lord, it is time: The election was immense.
It is no secret around here that I did not vote for Obama. But that doesn't mean that I will not celebrate this historic moment, this remarkable 70 day period in our country's history in which we anticipate the inauguration of our first African-American president, the incredible moment when Barack Obama will be sworn in on steps that were built by the hands of slaves. Talk about healing.
As with all change, there will doubtless be rocky patches for America in the months to come. The changing of seasons is always wrought with potential hazard. It will be hard for many and easy for others. There will be turbulence, but hopefully we'll land in one piece. Or, rather, in one peace--a standard for the world to emulate and America to live up to.