I walked to work today. It was crisp and clear. Just what I needed. As in every walk-to-work-day, my mind constantly scanned for the best way forward or “how to ensure I get to work on time.”
When driving, the route is straightforward: over the cobbles of Juliette to the canopied Bertrand, then North Manhattan, and a left at the crosswalk onto campus. As a pedestrian, I am not as constrained by pithy asphalt routes or traffic signals.
As a pedestrian, my brain moves in a National Treasure-like progression of hypotenuses, hidden entries, leaves to kick up, and an inner dialogue of shortcuts missed or taken.
It seems my best laid plans of a shortcut to work or home are most often foiled by other drivers, pedestrians, or parades (trust me on this one.)
Invariably, each shortcut attempted becomes the long way home.
As a fan of the languid long way home (and Eddie Vedder’s, The Long Road), a drive can prove a lovely adventure. We are introduced to new perspectives, the sun rising or setting in unfamiliar spots, longer time to hold a hand or to catch up; more time to prepare or defragment from a day.
I’m still learning my lesson about short cuts.
Today, I declined all shortcuts – minus a run through the Bluestem Bistro deck – and stuck with the plotted roads and routes of the gentry and gentlefolk. By sticking to the roads and sidewalks, avoiding the alleys, and ignoring the familiar cut-throughs, I made it to work with time to spare…and write this.
A lesson learned. And now expanded:
We are standing at the moment we feared. We are faced with a climate of change whether we welcome it or not.
We are not who we thought we were.
We are not on a good and solid path forward…yet.
If we – as a people – are going to make it through this unveiling of who we are and the cracks in our foundation, there are no shortcuts. We do not have the time to attempt them anyway.
It will be difficult.
It will not be easy.
The way has not yet been made.
If we are going to grow and combine our truest strengths for the good of our cultural character and influence in an uncertain world, we need to find our commonalities and move forward as one.
Limping for a bit.
Unsure of the way.
Practicing engagement and trust.
Stepping out of our comfort zones.
Abandoning all of our self-serving fear.
We can do this.
It’s all hands on deck.
Derring Do for a greater more enduring good.
As John Irving reportedly said, “We can be brave in good company.”
Despite your vote cast last week, we are still – for the time being – one nation.
Let’s act like it.