Yesterday Ollie and I walked through a sea of new graduates and proud families to the river. Memorial Drive blocks off traffic on the weekends, a temporary park, a respite, and we needed a respite.
“Congratulations!” I said, passing a young man, quite possibly the first one in his family to achieve this milestone, certainly the first to have done so at this venerable institution.
Beaming, and standing taller with his parents, “Thanks!” he said, his face settled into wonder. I wished him well, and we kept moving.
I couldn’t help but think of those children who now will never reach this milestone, but will forever remain as they were, the sacrifices of their families made on the altar of the NRA.
Or of other eternally sepia toned lives, their names engraved in monuments we walk past, forgetting. We walked through the peaceful grounds of Longfellow House on the way down, Washington’s local headquarters for the Revolution, and through the Common, where farmers mustered for an idea.
Graduations make me teary, something about the definite marking of the ending of one age and the beginning of a new, but I teared up at the thought of those who ended unfinished.
As we reached the river, I heard music, reminiscent of songs I used to know and love, when I wore a cap and gown. Boston Calling across the way, we had a view that reminded me of peaking though the brush to a church in my hometown, a private framing for my own particular context.
We walked in the road, an unmarked police car drove silently behind us, startling me and the other pedestrians and cyclists, the cop turning on the lights when he reached the barricade. We crossed through another sea, this one of festival goers.
Memorial Drive, named so that we would not forget, on a weekend when we should un-forget, but Americans have no memory. So instead we sit and picnic and jump and pose for photos with our proud parents so that we will not commit this day to memory. The crew already hard at work cleaning up.
Imperceptibly, the river flows.
“Congratulations!” Another graduate stands tall.
Gallery: Sundry Wonders
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