Abby Johnson: Poem highlight of inauguration day
The weather was chilly, the sky gray, the lawn muddy, the rain absent for Monday’s inauguration ceremony at the Capitol Building which was elegantly draped in blue and silver for the solemn and festive occasion.
Top judicial and constitutional officers took their oaths of office. History was made as three women were added to the state Supreme Court to total a majority of four. Aaron Ford became the first African American constitutional officer, and Kate Marshall the first Latina lieutenant governor. Steve Sisolak became Gov. Sisolak, the first Democrat governor in 20 years.
The governor’s heartfelt inaugural address was about unity, the importance of education, the need for quality jobs, affordable accessible health care. He emphasized we’re one Nevada, coming together to make one another better, with compassion and common decency.
A highlight of the ceremony was a poem written and read for Inauguration Day by Reno’s poet laureate Lindsay Wilson, presented here with his permission.
Letter for Our New Year’s Resolution
Dear Nevada, dear white as snow, dear battle scar,
dear petroglyphs, dear bounty of agave hearts,
thank you for the new snow’s crisp blank page,
and the snowshoe hare’s lucky prints scattered
along the new day’s margins.
for the wind drifting north to south
across the great yawn of Nevada’s middle,
which is not nowhere or empty, but as we choose
to call it: beautiful basin.
Praise choice. Praise
sagebrush and cloud shadow. Praise the day’s
windswept face staring intently at the horizon
where we watch the storm passing and the rainbow
shimmering from the calm edge. Praise
Paiute and Basque, Spanish and English, black
Praise rain dance. We thank you
for the season’s heavy pack of snow, and rivers
rising like children from last year’s dark slumber
asking about the rumors of our demise. Praise
children. Praise their cool, clear sky of thought.
Praise those of us who tell them: be good,
clean your room, study hard. Praise science
class and art. Praise the young at their first job,
their back’s strong industry.
we demand of them, so that we remember to proudly
demand it of ourselves. Praise words and the people
who actually choose to live by them. It is us,
right, who teach our children the words for love?
Teach them to be thankful for today’s brisk hope,
thankful for the new year’s clean page as we write
that this year’s resolution is to be the people
we teach our children to become.
Nevada’s New Year is off to a hopeful start with new leadership. Much was promised in the fall campaigns. In the words of Lindsay Wilson, “this year’s resolution is to be the people we teach our children to become.” May each of us, including our elected officials, strive for that ideal.
Abby Johnson is a resident of Carson City, and a part-time resident of Baker, Nev. She consults on community development and nuclear waste issues. Her opinions are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her clients or organizational affiliations. She thanks Lindsay Wilson for his permission to reprint his poem.