Wave of Optimism

I walked to the polls today just before sunrise. Along the way I passed:

  • A hawk perched on a high branch in the undeveloped field along the highway
  • Flocks of birds swooping over the field and calling louder than the traffic driving by
  • The American flag flying at the Post Office
  • An ode to American consumerism: a Public Storage facility
  • The recently dedicated memorial to 9/11 – a beam pulled from the wreckage of the Twin Towers – outside my destination, the Overland Park Fire Training Center

I was reminded of the suffering caused by the terrorists 11 years ago as well as the storm last week, and I carried the pain with me into the building. I also carried other markers I’d collected on my walk: the wonder of the hawk, the honor of the flag and a confidence in the resiliency of our nation and its people. I was ready to vote.

I still had my optimism when I emerged 30 minutes later, the sun now up. I walked under a canopy of maple trees, the fiery red leaves still clinging to their branches. I stopped at a yard strewn with golden redbud leaves and stopped to pick up one of the heart-shaped leaves. Four flags along my street waved me home.

As I left for work a little later, I got a text from my youngest daughter, Jessie, that simply said: “I voted!!” It was her first time. I texted back my congratulations and remembered my first vote for a U.S. president: Jimmy Carter in 1976. Today’s presidential selection is my 10th. I’ve chosen more losers than winners (5-4) and tonight will learn if I’m hitting .500. I’ll be sad if my candidate loses, but not devastated. The flags will still be flying when I make the walk four years from now.


  1. Thanks for sharing your walk, the ebb and flow of your thoughts, movements and ponderings are descriptive and defined so well in your title Wave of Optimism!

  2. Beautifully said. When I went to vote I was full of gratitude. I had watched an Independent Lens show the night before about a poor, uneducated woman in Jordan who even in her own home had no voice. We have that and so much more.

  3. Thanks for your “wave of optimism” it raised my spirits.


  1. [...] morning I retraced the walk I chronicled in my Election Day blog, past the field and hawks, past the maple and redbud trees, past the Post Office, to the [...]