America

The scene is 2016, March 18th, Friday, early afternoon; my then-15 year old daughter and I are at the Bernie Sander’s rally held at This is the Place State Park in Salt Lake City, the crowd of 14,000 snaking around as if forever, pedi-cabs (blasting Bob Marley) ferrying people from their distant cars under a sky that’s clear and blue, clouds standing down, attendees willing to leave behind their expensive steel water bottles to get past security. And while we trickle in, and wait for Bernie to arrive—he himself waiting for all attendees to be able to get in—I see die-hards in trees trying to get a glimpse, and share space with excited hopeful people—one dressed up in a superhero costume—and rest inside the scene, Yellow Ledbetter then Uprising then America… playing as everyone takes pictures and videos to document what we already know is history. And as I take it all in, I pan over to our west to a couple and the moment she raises his hand to her mouth is captured on my iPhone. And if I could explain in a paragraph why I had tears in my eyes at the sight of two strangers sharing themselves, I would. If I could sum up humanity for us in poetic words, panning out to divest the moving pictures of our lives, of our loves, of the magic tingling in us from people grabbing hands—their breath upon skin, their lips becoming the meaning of our life—to pour us the profound meaning behind all, I would. But for now, I share instead the story of that day. The dizzying clarity of the sky, folks assembling, cheering, the roar inside my self—overworked, alone, sometimes afraid, but using hardships as growth—and the big bright strokes of that clear afternoon, Bernie speaking our dreams to the trees, mothers with children gripping cameras and getting lost inside the caring of strangers whose hands pose in the art of nurturance while Simon and Garfunkel sing our song and we fall in love with America.

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