Sunday, November 16, 2008

An Amazing Time

As we now wait for the inauguration of a new president, this is a time that many Americans, including me, will long remember. The day after the election, I put aside the front section of The New York Times--much as my dad did for the end of World War II and the first man on the moon. I found those editions, and several other headlines of momentous events, wrapped in plastic in the basement when I cleaned out the family homestead a few years ago. Now I have another to add to the collection, equally momentous. Like many Americans, I feel an enormous sense of relief that the long election campaign is over--but equally, pride at the outcome. The news media seems to be reeling as well--there just isn't as much to cover on the transition, and they have been struggling to fill the gap---with all the Sarah Palin interviews, I have to hope....isn't it moose season yet?

There are some events that you always remember where you were--for me, those include the assassination of President Kennedy, the first man on the moon, the blow up of the Challenger, and 9/11. Now I will always be able to see the news flashing across the screen, when shortly after the California polls closed, the election was called for Obama. Despite the terrible times we are in, this is a kind of sea change--a shift that had already started to happen before the election, and is being coalesced by it. I'm glad I was here in America for this. Although there is so much work ahead of this country and it doesn't appear we have hit bottom yet, there is also a feeling of hope and movement. The news channels have moved over to "the transition" and trying to second guess Presidential appointments and policies. In due course, we will know all of this for sure, just like the outcome of the election, but it's fun re-watching Saturday Night Live just being able to laugh, this time with no sense of stress at the outcome.

Within a couple of days of the election, fall went into its blustery stage. We had Indian summer days for the election and the days leading up to it, but for the past two weeks it has been windy, cold, and the trees are mostly bare. This is the first sign of winter. I am in Keene at the moment, which is at the eastern end of the time zone, and it is getting dark very early--around 4:30 p.m. That's another harbinger of winter. Seems impossible that it's already a year that I was getting ready to come back to the U.S.

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