January 15th, 2007

chaco

MLK

All of the MLK events planned for Austin have been cancelled because of ice. Outdoors. Clinging to the trees and wires. So we’ll be home in our sweats and slippers, reading and baking, which sounds swell.
 
My kids, though, had hoped to march – were even willing to bundle up.
 
When I collected them at school on Friday, King’s “I Had a Dream” speech boomed from the PA system. In the car, on the way home, they explained why we oughta call him “Dr. King”, to show respect. I like that.
 
But there’s also something so intimate about his legacy, isn’t there? His was a looming figure that one could imagine being at home with, over dinner or the morning paper.
 
I think it’s the serenity he held, in the face of everything impossible and abhorrent. There he stood in the storm that was the civil rights movement while the rest of us bring anxious hysteria to airline ticket counters and afternoon traffic.
 
I cannot imagine the yogic practice it must take to embody one’s beliefs that completely.
 
What if we moved more peacefully and spoke with less shrill? What if our decisions were more intuitive and less rash? What if we learned “to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools”?
 
Dr. King was shot to death on my birthday, in April, 1968. I turned one, ate cake with my plump hands, laughed in the light of the flashbulbs burning. King was dead, we were at war in Vietnam, and the sixties were exploding into the seventies. But I was full of hope. Full of hope.
 
Today, ice sheening on our streets, King's voice like music on our radio, I still am.