Sausalito Bill

I visited Sausalito for my birthday. You can see it here. Tuesday’s election made me look at this picture a little more closely.

I took it while I sat along Bridgeway Street, watching a guy—whom people applauded and called Bill—stack these stones and flotsam into stable, vertical columns. He had very long arms and big hands that he held at an angle from his wrists, like they were full of magical energy; which they must have been, if a superior sense of touch and balance is a gift in its own right.

I’m an Election Day baby. According to my mother, the last thing she did before giving birth to me was to vote for Ronald Reagan.┬áIn my politically interested lifetime, I’ve dragged my toes along both sides of the party line, first out of training and then out of personal evolution. Each has its own stubborn kernel of integrity, seemingly so at odds from the other.

Consider this: If there is anything my curiosity about the Middle East has taught me, it is that a nation in the Fertile Crescent is a different creature from a nation of the Bread Basket; America is not a collection of tribes and families and sects around which somebody else has drawn an arbitrary line. We are a swath of continent whom steady immigration and long history has favored—to our core in the New World, we are nationalistic. We are Americans first, allied first to the secular idea of nation, and are invited to participate communally in its idea, its future, and its shared community.

As we recover from a divisive campaign season, I look to these towers of stone. Every rock is stubborn—heavy, sure of its shape, a bit awkward. But despite appearances, each can share an axis with the next. I have faith we can find our shared patriotic meridian, and hope I’m not alone in that desire.