Perhaps I should start with the mundane and work towards the profound. This morning, my cat Molly jumped up on the table next to me and attempted to steal a piece of bacon off my plate--a brazen and rude act of bad-kitty-ness never before attempted in our kitchen. I dumped her off the table, she glared at me from the floor, and I wondered what kind of metaphor that was. And then I suddenly thought of the chopper bearing the Bushes up, up and away from the White House.
Looting. I have been thinking about what looting means a lot lately.
So here's what I decided: the nation has dumped Bush down onto the kitchen floor because he was looting and it took the stock market crash and the waves of misery spreading out from it to make us realize it. Lots of us could deal with him lying, but stealing--looting--that's when you buy a gun and stand in front of your hurricane-ravaged house with it. That's when you finally make the politcal phone calls and drag your friends to the polls.
In our case, in America's case, it had to get as brazen as Mollycat's bacon-grab before we finally got off our asses. But how gorgeous and inspiring and heartening that awakening, that rising to our national feet has been!
It hasn't hurt that we have an extraordinary, brilliant, and highly disciplined leader in Barack Obama. He ran a fabulous campaign, and he is setting up a dream team of an administration. He will certainly do things that will piss me off in the next four years. I wasn't nuts about the Rick Warren pick for the opening prayer at the Inaugural. But I understood where he was coming from and why he did it. He's everyone's President, not just mine.
I know there are folks who believe that my kind of thinking--looking for symbols and portents and metaphor in all manner of places--is irrational. And it is, but I believe that there are many kinds of wisdom, and that the intuitive can be as important as the logical. I think that the intuitive can dance in front of the logical, in fact.
The other big metaphor lately has been the Miracle On The Hudson, much derided by hard-nosed types who call it just good flying and good luck. But it all seems to be part of the same story: a disaster narrowly averted by a serious-minded, highly trained leader who did the right thing at at the right time. Maybe there was a bacon-grab here, too; perhaps the plane was stricken by cost-cutting by the airline as much as it was by a flock of birds. We'll know more about that in the weeks to come.
But it was like the Inauguration and the election. People, inspired by the captain's leadership AND because of their better angels, Did The Right Thing. They drove their ferryboats out to the plane and got other people off. The passengers mostly helped each other, although there was some folly and panic (hardly to be wondered at).
It feels like some vast corner has been turned, like we can all breathe a bit easier. And it feels like there are all these little portents, like love notes left around from God, it really does. Happy landings. A quiet house. The cat, seemingly penitent, purring in my lap.