I let go of the shore and pushed off into the middle of the river.
I walked 15 miles Saturday in other people’s shoes at the Women’s March on Washington. From 66 New York Avenue to the rally point, and from the US Capitol to the Washington Monument to the White House. I stopped along the way, climbing on top of boulders, walls, trees and golf carts to shoot photos and videos from higher perspectives. I listened to what people were saying.
At the end of the march, I walked to the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 14th Street southwest, looking toward the National Mall. Pershing Park is located at this corner, and I stood on a grassy embankment beneath a tree and for two hours, people still came walking shoulder to shoulder the width of every street for as far as I could see in each direction.
It was moving—a river of beautiful moments in a movement that was flowing all around us. There were parents holding their babies and young children. A 4-year-old girl on her father’s shoulders led marchers on a call and response chant. Entire families were marching together. People were just letting it go, saying what was on their minds.
This movement reminded me of a quote my yoga teacher read at the conclusion of our heated power yoga class I took just before I left for Washington. The quote she read is attributed to a Hopi elder, and goes like this:
“There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are torn apart and will suffer greatly.
“Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above water. And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.
“The time for the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”
That quote was with me as I moved through the river of people with my cameras. Yes, the march was about Donald Trump—resisting his agenda, the power of the people will protect what they have and fight for what they believe in. The march was not about showing up to help others—it was about supporting the self-empowerment of others to help themselves work toward goals of justice and equity for Citizens, Women, Children, Veterans, Immigrants, Christians, Muslims, Atheists, Jews, Asians, Natives, Whites, Blacks, Latinos, Boomers, Gen. X, Millennials, LGBTQIA, the Disabled, the Poor and many more.
America showed up.
Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton