Wednesday, November 5, 2008

i feel it

I want to remember this forever.

I know it isn’t always a good thing when a group of people joins together and starts thinking as one. There’s no doubt that it’s led to some of the most horrible crimes by humanity. But tonight felt so good.

I watched McCain’s and Obama’s speeches in the union, surrounded by strangers. At one point during Obama’s speech, as tears were streaming down my face and I was sniffling through hiccups, the woman next to me said, “All I want to do right now is give you hug.” So I hugged her. And we cried some more.

After the speech I went outside and followed the shrieking to State Street. At first I just started hugging everyone I recognized. And then I just started hugging anyone. I was giving high fives left and right, chanting, singing, and screaming. Soon the calls of “to the capitol!!!!” began to mount and the movement began.

At that point I think I lost track of my identity. I stopped thinking about myself. I lost track of how heavy my backpack was, how cold I felt, how badly my feet ached. I became part of a greater identity, which was so comforting. We were all in it together. I didn’t have to worry about thinking things through, being responsible, making decisions.

We started down the street, united by a large U.S. flag at the front of the group. Just as our energy began to die down another group came down a side street and merged with us. My vision was a blur of smiles, teeth, wide eyes, flailing limbs, flags, flying hair, bodies colliding. I let my body go, kind of the way I do in a mosh pit when I don’t have the impetus to fuck with people. I just let the crowd sway me this way and that, and let my vocal chords vibrate freely into the night air.

When we made it to the capitol, it was like we had reached the head of the dragon. People were breathing fire all the way up the steps of the capitol. At the very top we all lined up and began singing the national anthem, and other celebratory and patriotic songs. Eventually, the fire started to die down, and the group needed a change of atmosphere to get fired up again. Shouts of “to Bascom Hill!!!!” became the new battle cry.

So off we were again. Thousands of feet pushed forward against pavement, shouting cries of victory. A few whistles and drums tried to send out music, but were mostly buried by human voices. Strangers became best friends, and people who once bragged of plans to leave the country ASAP shouted “USA” loudest of all.

As we approached Bascom, the crowd broke into a run. People leapt over the knee-high rope at the base of the hill, hanging on to belt loops, blankets and cameras. Bascom Hill is famous for the exhausting demand it places on its conquerors. I know I usually avoid at all costs. So as we ascended, we all lost our breath to our screams and our legs. But it became the common joke. I’m pretty sure everyone on that hill that night laughed about it once.

Finally at the top, the energy built again. All that air we had been sucking on our way up was finally exhaled down the hill in song and celebration. People coated the entire hill. I have no idea how long we were there; my sense of time left me early on. I just remember looking up at the stars, smiling, and losing my voice to the crowd.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to reflect deeper, but for now I feel great. For now I’ll let myself succumb to the beautiful feeling of togetherness and movement.


dpeterlin said...

The most heart-warming part of tonight was that throughout the night, the general atmosphere was celebratory rather than judgmental towards the "losing side."

Anonymous said...

Rory, it sounds like such an awesome experience to be a part of!!!