O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud—
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.

Yesterday morning I was out walking and talking to a friend who lives in Denver. Suddenly cars started honking everywhere. It annoyed me a bit, this inability to hear clearly what my friend was saying so I headed home and settled into a chair in the garden to finish our conversation. After we hung up, I called out to our neighbors who were in their backyards, “Hey guys!” I said, “did you notice I cleaned up the alley?”

I was very proud of this alley cleanup. After all, I had been the bad neighbor collecting yard rubbish and throwing it back there for the last 8 months. “Yeah, I noticed,” said my neighbor. “Hey Amy!,” his wife interrupted, “we did it!” “Yeah, I know,” I responded, “I cleaned up the alley. I’m sorry it took me so long.” “No,” she was fairly shouting at me. “We did it! Biden won!”

Oh.

 

Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says, ‘I burn.’
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.
It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.

 

My little dark blue corner of the universe celebrated all day and into the night with screaming and yelling and honking cars. All day I received texts from friends and family and students—current and former, my phone exploding with little blue hearts of joy. Around 5pm, I walked up to Central, three blocks from our house, where a parade of cars were loudly proclaiming the good news. I wanted to stand on the corner and weep watching children with noise-makers and folks on the sidewalks with flags and signs. Walking back home, I ran into an older woman walking her two dogs. “What’s happening up there? Should I go see?” she asked me. “It’s pretty inspiring,” I told her. As we parted, she shook her head. “I just want to get in my car and join the parade.”  I could still hear the sounds of a celebrating neighborhood when I went to bed.

There are so many reasons to celebrate. And many, many more reasons to keep our eyes open. Soft fronts, strong backs, as the Buddhists would say.

 

And steadfast as Keats’ Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

 

Keep choosing, friends.

(Choose Something Like a Star by Robert Frost)