Obama is officially president. Finally. After the hum of last Tuesday quieted, I found time for a little reflection. And honestly, despite how much I believe in this new administration and the change it has the power to bring, I found myself still a bit depressed, still struggling to pull out some hope for the time ahead. I think a lot of this darkness, for me, is the fact that it's going to be a long time before things truly improve in this country, and this world. Obama's leadership isn't an antibiotic that will cure a sinus infection in 2 days. It's going to be a slow dose of radiation over a period of years, coupled with therapy, acupuncture, diet change & yoga. It's going to take time to heal these wounds. That is probably what's hardest for me personally, because I'm impatient and like so many of us, am always looking for the quick-fix.
I think the other part that's hard to swallow about this new "change" is that it's not directly affecting my own life. Sure, I feel the recession in my own way, the global crisis, the war. I do. But when I think about change in my life, I think about finding a partner, a home I can afford, a way to contribute to society in a meaningful way and a lifestyle that inspires me. These are selfish things, I know, but they're changes I want for my own life that haven't happened. Yet. And as much as I want to believe this can all happen simultaneously, it just seems that God/Obama/the rest of us have a hell of a lot on our plates.
And so despite all that doom gloom talk I wrapped myself up in, I decided to stop moping and force myself into some art. A trip to the SFMOMA almost always shakes me out of a lull and this time was no different. The thing I most appreciate about art is that it allows us to both escape and embrace the time we're in & the emotions we face. It honors the pain & the joy and also supersedes them and allows us to escape them.
Aside from the many great photography exhibits I saw, the thing that moved me most was a book I stumbled upon in the bookstore on my way out the door. The book is called "A Year of Mornings" by Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes. These two women, who met through their online blog/website presence, collaborated to document 365 mornings last year and share them with each other. They live 3191 miles apart (one in Portland, Oregon and one in Portland, Maine). The images in this book are beautiful glimpses into the mundane intimacies each woman faced each day. They pay homage to routine, to ritual and to taking the time to notice the quieter moments.
I feel a bit guilty that a book on morning photographs has allowed me to forget the current world crisis and my own loneliness in it, but at the same time, I think it's a true example of how I want to handle the next few years. It's going to be messy. It's going to take time to heal. And in the process of that recovery, it's all we can do but to find joy in the lives we're trying to lead, the love that we are building and the morning moments we receive each day that bring about a fresh start, the change we are seeking.