Saturday, March 25, 2017

Columbia in Review

The week began for me at the official kick-off of Columbia's 50th Birthday, held at the Mall. It had bagpipes, a procession, pageantry, songs, and speeches. But the highlight for me was the playlist that let up to the event itself.

Winchester Cathedral
There's a Kind of Hush
Brown-Eyed Girl
The Beat Goes On
A Different Drum
Ain't No Mountain High Enough

...and more from the musical treasure trove of my childhood. Yes, I was singing along to everything, and so was the woman behind me. Oh, the memories. I may not have lived in Columbia, but the music gets me, just the same.

Elijah Cummings was speaking when I had to leave to pick up my daughter from church. As I walked across the parking lot to my car I could hear his voice ring out and echo off of the shops and restaurants around him. I wondered if that had ever happened before. His words were, as they usually are, strong and stirring. (You can see it on his Facebook page. You'll need to scroll down a bit to find it.)

It made me think of the concept of Columbia as Resistance. I'm still thinking about it.

Last night I went to the storytelling event for Columbia's 50th at Owen Brown Interfaith Center. I appreciated what an excellent variety of stories were chosen. Differing topics, differing perspectives. It was a beautifully balanced event. One speaker, Steven Sachs, spoke of the passion and idealism of Columbia's beginnings and suggested that its founders and pioneers had forgotten to share that and pass it along to to the next generation. I was struck by his wistful thought that some days he wished he could return to the time that "Columbia was my Camelot."

Columbia as Resistance. Columbia as Camelot.

What about Columbia as Experiment?

In "Experiment in Community: Lessons from Columbia", Doug and Ken Ulman reflect on both America's social ills today and the goals of Columbia at its inception. Are they still relevant and applicable? It's worth the read. I was a bit startled by the suggested that community life requires:

...arenas for intimate and personal collisions.

Not sure what that means but it sounds awkward and embarrassing. Perhaps that's just my social anxiety talking.

It's only been one week and the one thing I know about Columbia's 50th celebration is that it will have many voices and points of view. 

I like that. 

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