Yesterday, as promised, I took myself to the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and specifically to the summit area of Kilauea, to hike through groves of ohi’a and sandalwood, and refresh myself with reality and truth.
Walking down a trail to the serenade of songbirds, and later looking down into the furnace that is Halema’uma’u Crater, and hiking back to my car through the dark woods (poor planning, that), I thought about things I’d learned:
Birds sing their songs. If they don’t sing, they don’t live – the next generation doesn’t happen. They sing different songs. They sing to exist.
We must sing our songs.
What you don’t see is still there. Reality exists whether I see it – or you see it – or not.
Look closely. Don’t assume we’ve seen all there is to see.
Going up is more work than going down. Going down you’re more apt to fall.
Let’s be careful about going down. Let’s summon up our strength to go up.
Beauty grows at the edge of devastation.
Let’s appreciate truth and beauty where we find it.
Steam fogs your glasses, making it even harder to see the holes at the side of the trail (which are also steam vents).
Heated words may distract us from truth. We need to look for the realities they hide, and focus on them lest they trip us up – and never fail to name the heated words for what they are.
Now today – today I marched.
Not as far as I hiked yesterday, I grant you. Hilo has a small downtown! But I marched because our new President has already made clear that not all citizens’ rights will be respected, and not all people’s worth will be considered. He has already taken steps to hamstring the Affordable Care Act, without presenting a replacement plan. Millions could lose access to insurance, and those who are now protected from being denied coverage because of their health now face a terrible risk of losing their insurance again.
Today both he and his press secretary repeatedly asserted an untruth. They would accept no evidence to the contrary; they would brook no contradiction. And it is a lie. The crowds at the inauguration today were significantly smaller than those eight years ago.
Women – people of color, both men and women – non-Christians – Christians who refuse to praise the President – journalists who do their jobs with diligence and integrity: These people have all faced the President’s ire.
And so I marched. To face the ire. To declare the truth. And most of all:
To sing my song.