It is no secret that I love to travel. But what is a secret is that soon I will be going to my favorite city in the world, Washington DC! I didn’t actually go for the first time until I was 26 years old. This was 1990 and I remember that I fell in love instantly. I was also a bit guilty I hadn’t gone sooner. In fact I recall thinking that it was a place every American citizen should visit at least once in their lives.
As it so happened, I ended going back numerous times in the few years following. The last time I was there was in 2008. Each of those subsequent visits happened to be with my two kids. And this time they will be there too, but it will be oh so different. My daughter (now a mommy herself) is in Baltimore, not far from DC, for work. And my son and his wife are in the process of moving to DC.
I said to a DC resident once that I loved the city so much I could see myself living there. She replied, well unless you are in politics, there is no point. While I silently disagreed, there is no mistaking that politics takes center stage. It is the capital of the U.S.A. And my most memorable visit in the capital, at a presidential inauguration, were perhaps six of the most spine tingling minutes of my life.
I was lucky enough to have been able to attend President Bill Clinton’s Inauguration. He invited Maya Angelou to write and recite a poem for the occasion. There had only ever been one poet to read at an inauguration before, and that was Robert Frost at JFK’s. To be honest, I didn’t know that much about Maya Angelou. But from the moment I heard her utter the first word I was hooked.
She has a way of speaking, of communicating, that is so powerful yet comforting at the same time. A crowd of hundreds of thousands clung to each phrase that danced from her mouth. I have never forgotten how I felt after she delivered her six minute “On the Pulse of Morning” poem: Electrified. I still weep when I watch this video. New beginnings, hope and love are themes that interweave this and so many of her works.
Since then I have collected inspiring quotes of hers (posting many on my social media) and have read other pieces she has written. And like many admirers I was saddened to hear of her death just three years ago on May 28th, 2014 at 86 years old. She was wise and wonderful and maternal. Even though we never met, she’s someone I wished to have had for a mom.
Reading about her life, we have many things in common, from childhood traumas to early motherhood. Her birthday is the same day as my dad’s, April 4th, only she’s ten years older. She weathered many storms, lived many lives and did it all with dignity. She gave hope to others and will continue to do so long after departing this world. That is the beauty of creating a life that outlives you. Through her art, her writing, her voice will continue to resonate and electrify.
So when I return to DC I’ll have joy in my heart to be reunited with my kids, and I will also think of my six memorable minutes with Maya. You can count on me to share the story on here! Until then I will be dreaming of DC!
Pulse of LOVE,
P.S. There is so much more I could say about this incredible woman such as her activism for women and African Americans. But here is another video if you have time to watch, which lists the top 10 rules of success according to Maya Angelou. I love them all but of course #3 is my favorite, no surprise: