American poet Amanda Gorman reads a poem during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

American poet Amanda Gorman reads a poem during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

Tangled Up in Blue: Speckled purple

I woke up in the morning to NPR on Wednesday morning highlighting the importance of the color purple.

I rolled over, turned on the light and listened intently to the different ways that purple held meaning at the inauguration of President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

The inaugural fashion was dotted with the regal color (not including the casual elegance that was Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose outfit has now become a cultural). The color hearkened back to the suffragette movement, with purple being one of the colors of the movement that fought for women’s right to vote. Now, it was being donned by the first female vice president.

Or, more literally, purple is the combination of red and blue, two colors that represent a deep division in our country that this new administration has vowed to heal.

It was a lot of information to take in with sleep still in my eyes, but I had set an early alarm to engage in the inauguration and to, excitedly, get ready for a day of skiing.

While our new leaders were inaugurated, I packed a lunch, readied my skis, boots and poles, and gathered all my warm weather gear.

I paused and slowly drank a cup of coffee during President Biden’s speech, warmed by both my morning brew and his endearing words, then jumped in my truck for the drive to Girdwood.

There was no political soundtrack to my drive up, just some Tom Petty and Van Morrison accompanied by my muttered curses as I swerved to avoid potholes.

I eventually reached the day lodge parking lot, and went to look at my phone after the long drive. My heart sank.

“There’ i no way I’m getting anything done today after what just happened,” flashed across the screen.

My heart dropped as I read the text, which eerily reminded me of one she sent while rioters ransacked our country’s Capitol just two weeks before.

I was out of service and away from my phone for over two hours as I drove. What could have happened in that time? I left just after Biden’s speech, was there something tragic that took place after the inauguration? Was there more insurrection? Was somebody hurt? Was any of that majestic purple marked with red?

I unlocked the phone and went to my messages and quickly returned from my anxiety-laden trip down the rabbit hole. My friend just wanted to discuss the inaugural poem, ‘The Hill We Climb,” written and recited by Amanda Gorman.

So, I sat in my car and watched Gorman, a 22-year-old Black woman and the youngest inaugural poet ever, recite her words.

“We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be: a country that is bruised, but whole; benevolent, but bold; fierce and free. We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation, because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation. Our blunders become their burdens. But one thing is certain, if we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy, and change our children’s birthright.”

After, I responded to my friend, not mentioning the brief panic that her message had given me, because that anxiety was the product of past blunders, and hopped out of my car and into the day feeling just a little lighter than I had hours before.


For the Clarion

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