The green horse yesterday in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in beautiful downtown Lawrence reminded me: It’s horse of a different color time. Everything has been tilted in new ways in the last week in my life and around the world.
I think especially of Japan, and how people are finding new ways to survive, help each other, recover and deal with the outrageous aftermath and continual eruptions of earthquakes and nuclear plant devastation and threats. In the midst of this, a friend passed on an email from an American living in Sendai, who wrote how people have come together to sleep lined up in dry rooms, eat by candlelight, and haul water and food to each other in between working on home repairs or demolition. She writes about the blessings she’s found living free of all non-essentials, on instinct and in community.
I think of Libya, Yemen, Tunisia and Egypt: the upheavals and dangers, delicate stretches of peace and calm and overwhelming violence and fear. According to the New York Times, 30 protesters were killed yesterday in Yemen. Libyans find ways to survive — to keep breathing and functioning — in the middle of their brutal government turned against them and while waiting to see how the rest of the world responds. What price freedom? Obviously, it’s beyond measure.
Back home in the ease of living well and outside of a disaster or war zone, I look out at a pale-blue-gray muted sky, readying itself for rain and make plans to eat potato pancakes with a friend. In the days since Poet Laureati, I’ve vacillated between feeling good and bouts of vertigo and exhaustion, but overall, I’m just fine. I’m also living in a horse-of-a-different-color time when everything is tinged with change even more than usual. Not surprisingly, I hear the full moon will look bigger and be closer this weekend, adding to this extraordinary tone.
In The Wizard of Oz, the horse of a different color comes late in the movie, close to Dorothy’s final steps in her journey out of the Emerald City, where all is shiny but it isn’t hers. Soon she will find she had the power all along (plus the red sparkly shoes) to bring herself back home. I wish for all of us — whether by clicking of the heels, hauling buckets of water up mountains for neighbors, feeding refugees in North Africa, or just handing out acts or words of kindness — to find our way home on this horse on a different color.