Wednesday night on Facebook, a friend remarked casually that Occupy the Highway would be passing through New Brunswick. Because I am a person of poise and elegance, I said, “Wait, what?” After a mess o’ research, I found the march route that didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but that wasn’t important. I contacted everyone I knew would certainly be interested and only one person knew what the hell I was babbling about. That’s a record, even for me.
I called my sisters Thursday morning to tell them the marchers would walk right past the family store. Everyone was all aflutter. Next thing you know, half the tiny town was talking because a whole lot of people are in contact with OWS about food prep and where the marchers would sleep because about every fifteen minutes the marchers changed their minds about where they would sleep and how they would eat. This plan that shifted under our feet all afternoon drove us crazy. Should we cook dinner? Should we make breakfast? Should we scour the neighborhood for spare pillows and cozy comforters? Conjuring up the ordinary miracle of food and shelter takes time.
Looking north, the group arrives.
Eventually, the marchers stopped tweeting where they were and what they’d decided. For about three hours, we couldn’t figure out what to do and reluctantly went about the business of being us waiting for something nobody knew what to do for. About. To. It doesn’t make any difference. We waited, waited, waited, went to dinner, picked up dinner for my sisters, waited, waited, made plans, waited, waited. Suddenly, a little guy on bike skidded to a halt in front of my sisters Anya and Corinne, Pete, Brian and me and said, “They’re a block back.” We believed him because the blocks are very short in town and we could see a bunch of kids we knew jumping up and down on the corner. Pete took pictures as the first marcher declared, “Ninety-nine percent coming through!” We cheered and slapped hands with them. They implored us to march with them, even a little way. Friends of ours who are dogs and their people brought up the rear of the group and when we turned to look back, Anya, Corinne and Brian were gone in a flash. No, literally, a flash: Pete took the picture below and then I noticed the people standing next to me were gone.
A moment later looking south - my sisters and a local rock star have disappeared.
On Facebook last night, Anya posted pictures of a rally on that bridge I bicycle across all the time. It looked fantastic and I recognized dozens of familiar faces. Later, the marchers posted their own photos of a general assembly on the College Avenue steps. Since I didn’t have to get up two hours early to feed them, I could simply love everything I saw with a quiet heart. Tomorrow, a van filled with supplies goes to Zuccotti Park. I am sure there won’t be a spare inch in it.