We planned it well, even though by accident. The Campbell Museum in Newmarket is currently hosting a traveling exhibit on the Underground Railway and we really wanted us all to go. It's an important and powerful story of bravery and the incredible call of liberty and freedom for the enslaved. We knew that there were many powerful women involved and hoped that their stories would inspire the girls, to know that they can have an effect on the world in which they live.
We picked them up and the schools and headed over to the museum. Marissa got there first and we pulled our car into the disabled spot. Once in, the tour began. There were several people there to help out and answer questions and to take us through parts of the exhibit. They were warm and friendly to the kids and they respected them. They didn't try to soften the story of slavery because of the kids age or gender. It was inhumane in capital letters, unthinkable in red letters and a bruise on history that will never fade. It was serious stuff.
The journey round the exhibit had interesting activities, like deciphering the code words in spiritual songs or learning how to read the picture book of symbols on a quilt (that was remarkable). Ruby who loves codes and decoding took singular interest in that quilt and within moments understood all the symbols and meanings in the squares and was able to read each one of them.
Afterwards, a bit emotionally exhausted, we all went out for dinner.
We don't think of it often enough do we? What it is to be free?
We don't think of it near enough do we? Given and circumstance and a time, who would we be and what we would do.
Knowing what we as humans are capable of both the brutality and the bravery should challenge us to constantly evaluate the world we live in and the impact we want to make on it.
Then came into the restaurant a man with a disability, probably 10 years older than me. He was being pushed, bizarrely by a big guy wearing an orange coat adorned with yellow reflective material. As he came by the table he gave me a brief wave and a huge smile.
This was a man reveling in his freedom, soaking in it.
What is it to be free?
And what do we do with that freedom?