I woke up depressed and listless Wednesday morning. Hardly slept at all. It wasn’t so much the suspense that was killing me as a deepening suspicion that the only thing still uniting us as a nation is our mutual loathing for one another. We seem to have turned our backs on each other.
And so I did what I always do when I’m feeling down. I got on my bike and rode through the heart of Gainesville. Stopping to take photos along the way. Looking to connect with that old, familiar “I love this town” rush.
At first I felt like the Guardian of the Swamp. That old, rusting sculpture on South Main Street. A sad leftover from a city public art experiment gone wrong. It felt like I was looking at the town from behind a gray barrier.
But by the time I got to the Thomas Center I was reminded of the grace and beauty and endurance that seems to define life in this college town. And I began to view the world around me through a different lens. Several different lenses.
And the anxiety began to roll away like heavy drops of water.
By the time I got downtown one of our newest murals reminded me that, yes, there is nearly always something to celebrate…something to drink to…no matter the times.
That life goes on. And that sometimes you just have to hop on the bus and go with it.
By the time I got to Depot Park I was also reminded that all is not simply Republican Red or Democratic Blue. Rather we exist within an infinite universe of shades and colors.
On this crisp autumn morning the colors seem to explode all about me. How dreary everything looked the night before. How bright with anticipation this day brings.
And I remembered what we are all about in our university city. We are a community of ideas, of collaboration and of inquiry. At our best we are capable of envisioning and inventing our own brighter future.
I have no idea how the struggle for America’s soul will end. No one does right now. But we will get through this. And in the meantime, there’s nothing like a bike ride through GNV to help shake off a little electoral depression.