Elizabeth Alexander read her poem “Praise Song for the Day” at Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2008. Her beautiful words are worth a read, preferably aloud. I recently heard just a snippet of this poem on the radio and it was so true and hopeful on this rather tiring, but completely inspiring weekend, I wanted to stitch the two thoughts together here.
In today’s sharp sparkle…
Anything can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp.
Praise song for walking in that light.
The cusp of that moment was a national one, but such a brink, a brim, a cusp exists routinely in our daily lives. The opportunity to make something new hovers each day just before us. We need only the motivation and the courage to begin. Perhaps, in some ways, we also need the will to throw off self-consciousness and allow ourselves to look foolish along the way.
The outbuilding, the barn, we originally moved out of the city to find, is finally being built here at Tanglewood. (Quick aside, I’m re-reading Anne of Green Gables aloud to my girls this summer, and my impulse to attach ridiculous names to places has clear and strong ties to my favorite red-headed girl, so you’ll just have to bear with me).
To be clear, I haven’t been doing the building. Not for lack of interest, but my strength and curiosity is not matched by any technical abilities whatsoever. Instead, I’ve fed the crew as well as possible, entertained my eager would-be farm children, and documented the progress.
Joe and I are grateful for the helpers who have come and gone (or come and stayed) this weekend. The light Alexander asks us to walk into at the end of her poem is “love that casts a widening pool of light.” Everyone who contributed this week cast that light on our family, and on Joe who has more technical skills but little experience in managing a project of this size.
The barn raising itself is still on the brink, the brim, the cusp, so if you have a longing desire to be a maker, a builder, a creator, let me know and we’ll put you to work – and feed you well, and share many toasts at the end of the day – on a future weekend.
For now, I watch them work, watch them puzzle over plans, swap stories of past projects, and use elegant words like perlin and soffet that I’m certain my friend Anne (with an E) would find positively poetical.