Uplift in pink

I was back in the US just in time to knit one more pussy hat; a hat for someone I didn’t know yet. Tessa came in from NH on Friday night – all three of us had a hat. I had wool left so I started knitting on Friday night, just hours after arriving from Paris. I can make these hats now very fast.

We had agreed with friends from all over the North Shore that we would meet in the train. How naive we were; not just about the number of marchers from this part of Massachusetts, but also in the capacity of the train system to handle the crowds. Arriving at Beverly station the platform was already full, 100s of people.

When the train finally arrived we were told no one could get on as the train had no more standing room. And here I had had an image of myself knitting, on a seat no less. We walked back to the car to drive to one of the outlying subway stations, near my work, where I knew there was plenty of space to park. A young woman asked us whether we had an extra seat in our car. Since she did not wear a pink hat, the one under construction now had a destination. As it turned out our new passenger had founded a non profit organization to make science more relevant, more experiential and anchored in the world around us. Sita had bought ‘an experience’ at an online auction of the Kestrel Foundation in 2014 and gifted us a boat tour of Gloucester harbor in a dory, rowed by a colorful figure from Gloucester. I was happy to gift her the hat which was finished when we parked at the T station in Medford.

We took the Orange line into Boston. At each stop more and more entered the now crowded cars, with their pink hats and signs. By the time we reached downtown Boston it was clear we were in the thousands. We slowly streamed along with the crowd; once more with the naive idea that we would be able to see and hear the speakers.We never did see our speakers and only heard occasional sentences (which made the crowd roar) from the mayor of Boston, our two fabulous senators Warren and Markey and then an enormous variety of people representing various constituencies that make up the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and surrounding states.

For many of us Friday’s depressed state disappeared as snow for the sun, even though we knew we had to soldier on alone and some people in dire circumstances, for the next 4 years. The sun was out, the temperature went up, and the people were smiling and laughing.

We never got to march as the entire area around Boston Common was gridlocked. The MC, after telling us that the planning had been for a much smaller crowd (by then the estimate was over 100.000), suggested we take advantage of the situation and introduce ourselves to each other and talk. Talking would after all be the glue that we would need to hold us together for the next four years. We met people who had come from far and wide, all generations, all colors of skin, people in wheelchairs and strollers; it was the rainbow flag for real representing what Trump no doubt would call, the nasty liberal northeast.

Tessa managed to hook up with a friend because we were standing under an easily recognizable marker: a bare-chested man with dreadlocks up in a tree holding a sign that said:”Here I am a half-naked man surrounded by the opposite sex and I feel safe! I want you all to feel that way too!” The message was, I suppose, that bare-breasted women should feel safe sitting in a tree surrounded by 1000s of men. I am sure that many of the women at his feet felt like I did and would have liked to tell him to get real!  But then again, who cares about a bare-chested man high up in a tree – we had better things to do, like protesting a billionaire geezer with one of his (tiny) hands on the nuclear button and the other on a tweet machine. And our tree man was a great marker.

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