September 22, 2014

The day the people showed up.

Yesterday morning I hit snooze on my alarm and rolled over in bed, just to have a few more minutes under the comfy warm covers. When I opened my eyes again I jumped out of bed and into action. I had stayed in too long, but I got dressed I went right to the kitchen to make some coffee and fed the dog. Then I packed a small bag with some snacks, a jacket, my camera, one of my paintings and a fist full of business cards. Then I went to the guest room door and gave it a little knock. My traveling companion was up, but had also slept in. Even with our delays, we were out in the car and pulling out of the driveway by 7:30 AM, only 30 minutes later than anticipated.

After a three hour drive, made shorter by great conversation, we realized that we had missed our turn off and found ourselves slightly too far east. With a little quick thinking and only a few neighborhood streets we were back on our way towards the George Washington Bridge. From there we worked our way south along the western edge of Yonkers down to Manhattan.

The first thing to strike me as we approached our destination were an exceptional amount of New York City resident runners out and about, porting their fit bodies in the warm and hazy September morning. The local fitness fans were not the only people out on the streets on September 21, 2014. We, like so many others, had come to the city to take part in the People's Climate March. We joked with each other that couldn't find parking because so many marchers had inundated the city.

We walked onto Central Park West on 89th Street behind the end of the designated march site. For about an hour we walked down and then up Central Park West looking at the marches organizing themselves. They held signs, wore costumes, sang, and milled around taking in the scene. The atmosphere was light. Everyone's excitement and positivity was apparent by the smiles and feeling on comradery  that wafted from the crowd. Dreaded hippies, i-phone toting hipsters, Vietnam era weed legalizers, cat-loving grandmothers, youth activists, socialists, monks, drag queens, anti-fracking advocates, meditaters, bike lovers, and even a few dogs came out and a united voice to ask the heads of states who will be converging on the UN headquarters tomorrow for meaningful climate action. At one point I realized how many NYPD officers were lining the streets on either side of the organizers, and for a second I wondered if there was a chance of this ending in violence. I only let the thought cross my mind and then let it go, mustering faith that no one that I could see looked like they wanted anything more than an honest and heartfelt plea for a better future.

Waiting in line people chatted among themselves, danced and sang to the breakout of song from the trumpets, and shared snacks of apple slices and leaves of kale. The feeling of common good, desire for bettering the world, and love of all approaches to get there held everyone together with the common vision of a beautiful and healthy future. This is what really defined the day for me, it was really amazing to witness and be a part of. The police and city staff were right there with us, smiling and chatting or chuckling at the marchers' enthusiasm.

It certainly felt like a lot of people had turned out, but there is really no way of judging when you are in the middle of it all. When we heard that they were estimating over 310,000 people came and that we had filled up about 4 miles of Manhattan streets, we were overjoyed. We were, we all were, making history. We had taken a day out of our busy lives to come together to focus on something that is bigger than us all individually, to focus on the most important and far-reaching issue of our lifetimes.

By about 4:30 PM we had gotten to the end of the march. We had taken about five hours to walk from Central Park West and 83rd Street down to 11th Ave and 34th Street where the march ended. Although the end was slightly anti-climactic, we jumped and gave each other an air high five to commemorate our walk through the Big Apple.

Thank you to everyone who showed up yesterday to make history, and to all those who were with us in spirit around the world. It was a day to remember and be proud of.

There were people supporting all forms of energy, just as long as there is no greenhouse gases involved.

Don't miss the irony here. This scull was a part of a Bread & Puppet performance and represented the death machine of fossil fuels. In the background is a poster for a dinosaur exhibit at the Natural History Museum. Up on the top of the building's facade stand significant men of science, wondering about all this... 

This is all very hard work!

Love this!

A flooding NYC was a theme. poignant.

A little comedy on some very un-funny issues, always welcome.

All generations represented.

Here they are watching the Bread & Puppet performance.

A group meditating along the side of the march, hopefully magnifying our actions.

Our wishes of what not to loose to climate change.