We stood for women, my nine strong women friends and I, waiting for the march to begin in Seattle. I was of course sitting, not standing, in my wheelchair, with Lisa pushing me along. We had been inside the park where the march was to begin, but we moved out to the street with many of the other marchers. It was hard to hear the people giving speeches in the park, and we did not want to get trapped when the whole crowd started to move. Everyone was excited, clever signs all ready. My favorite read “I’ve seen smarter cabinets at Ikea!”
Then finally, after more than an hour of waiting, the security volunteers pushed us all to both sides of the street so the march could begin. Down came the sea of banners and tall painted figures towards us, led by about 50 Native Americans, some playing drums. First people, first in line.
Just to the side of the route, we were close enough to touch them. An older woman with a beautiful, careworn face and deep, piercing eyes singled me out. As she walked close by, she reached out and grasped my right hand gently. Saying nothing, she carried it with her for a few steps, looking into my eyes. Then, as the crowd moved along, we released each other’s hands. Her eyes held an ocean of experiences in the life that she had led. Was she a shaman? A healer? Her message to me was crystal-clear: “I am with you.” Because I will never forget that moment, she always will be. I am a very fortunate man indeed.