0 degrees and another glorious sunrise, which began with deep orange-red, turned redder, faded to rose-pink, then pale yellow and lifted soon enough to a white light. Your sun, wherever you are, has been or will be the same, but will announce its arrival differently, as it will its departure at the end of our individual and collective day.

I have been thinking about Richard Blanco’s poem, One Today since he read it at the inauguration yesterday. His words took me back to my childhood in Northern New Mexico – the Southern end of the Rockies – where many families were linked to the Earth in some way. Gardens were for growing vegetables, not just flowers. Acreage was often for chickens, and therefore eggs, and cows or goats, and therefore milk and cheese, and horses, and therefore alfalfa.

But even if these characteristics were not the markings of a particular family’s life, there were enough cables and trenches and grocery stores and fruit stands and school buses and blackboards and ledgers and trains and swings and bridges and uniforms and honking cars and café tables and buenos dias(es) seen and heard to tie us all together in one way or another and it was a given.

But then I grew up and went to college and left home and never went back, as did so many of my friends until everyone was spread out across the land. But all of these years later, whether I go out into the day or night sky in New York, or Virginia or Kentucky or San Francisco, the ether and constellations are the same for all of us. As is the Sun and the Moon.

And yesterday I was glad to have Richard Blanco’s beautiful, yet utterly straight-forward reminder that we are all one. That we are all connected. That when we look “up there” we are reminded of what we share and what is the same for all of us. So too, when we look “out there”, we should remember what unites us, rather than what divides us.

If you did not see and hear Mr. Blanco read One Today yesterday, I have included the video link below. If you prefer to read it, I have copied it below. For though we may be all one, we like to experience things differently.

I’m re-sharing the post I made on January 9th about Richard Blanco when I first heard he would be the Inaugural poet, because, well, I wanted to keep all things Blanco in one place. Sort of One Blanco. It’s fitting.

Have a lovely, and hopefully much, much warmer, day, wherever you are.

A Poem for Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration
January 21, 2013

One Today, by Richard Blanco

One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.

My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives—
to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.

All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day.

One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.

The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.

Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across café tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello / shalom,
buon giorno / howdy / namaste / or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me—in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.

One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.

One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.

We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country—all of us—
facing the stars
hope—a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it—together

Richard Blanco reading One Today at the inaugural:

Originally shared by Giselle Minoli

“The sole cause of a man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.” – Pascal, Pensées

This morning I sit with a mug of coffee, my back warmed by an over-stuffed fire. Warmed because it hurts. Because I slept on the floor last night in front of the fire like I used to do when I was a child, listening to the crackle of the embers, alone with my thoughts. But before smoothing my blanket on the rug I had read in the Times that the poet Richard Blanco would be Obama’s 2013 inaugural poet. I had not known of this man, but I immediately liked everything I read about him (link at the end of this post) so I went to Blanco’s website to find six inviting doors into his life and work: Welcome, Meet, Read, Listen, Look, Connect.

These “beckonings” instantly spoke to me here on the Northern Seashore of California, where I have come to welcome, meet and connect with myself once again after having lost my way buried in work and travel and duty and responsibility and obligation for the entirety of 2012.

I have spent the past four days looking. At the fog, the moon, water crashing against sand and rocks, Eucalyptus trees, at sea hawks and Tule Deer teetering on cliffs. I have spent the past four days listening. To the sound of the surf, seagulls, and seals, and the wind whipping past the Lighthouse at Pt. Reyes.

So it seems more than a  bit of serendipity to come upon Blanco’s poem, Somewhere to Paris, with its imagery of Italy and Paris and the moon and waves and dreaming…and solitude…and I wanted to share it with you this morning. The links to the website of this appealing poet, and the written and spoken poem of Somewhere to Paris appear below. 

Have a lovely day…

SOMEWHERE TO PARIS, by Richard Blanco

“The sole cause of a man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.” – Pascal, Pensées

The sole cause of a man’s unhappiness
is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.

–Pascal, Pensées

The vias of Italy turn to memory with each turn
and clack of the train’s wheels, with every stitch
of track we leave behind, the duomos return again
to my imagination, already imagining Paris–
a fantasy of lights and marble that may end
when the train stops at Gare de l’Est and I step
into the daylight. In this space between cities,
between the dreamed and the dreaming, there is
no map–no legend, no ancient street names
or arrows to follow, no red dot assuring me:
you are here–and no place else. If I don’t know
where I am, then I am only these heartbeats,
my breaths, the mountains rising and falling
like a wave scrolling across the train’s window.
I am alone with the moon on its path, staring
like a blank page, shear and white as the snow
on the peaks echoing back its light. I am this
solitude, never more beautiful, the arc of space
I travel through for a few hours, touching
nothing and keeping nothing, with nothing
to deny the night, the dark pines pointing
to the stars, this life, always moving and still.

Poet’s Kinship with the President, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, The NY Times

Richard Blanco Website:

Somewhere to Paris, by Richard Blanco:

Audio Recording of Somewhere to Paris, by Richard Blanco: