By Ashley Lodato
Big city moms do this all the time, I’m sure, but it was a first for me. On Saturday at the march in Twisp, I looked around at the size of the crowd (estimates vary from 600 to 800 marchers — “I counted until 600 and then gave up,” says Joe Marver, tallying marchers from a balcony at his Twisp River Suites) and made an “if we get separated” backup plan with my younger daughter, which I’d never had to do before in the Methow Valley.
It was a big march, one of the biggest. We do the best marches in the Methow, everyone agrees. Nobody does better marches than we do. You wouldn’t believe how terrific it was. It was tremendous, absolutely fantastic. There were hundreds of people, believe me. They all made signs and grabbed them by the handles for the march, I can assure you of that.
The crowd size may have been impressive and surprising, but the enthusiasm and community spirit of the march were nothing unexpected for a Methow gathering. What touched me the most was not the friends and neighbors who I expected to see at the march, but instead the number of people who I wouldn’t have guessed would turn out for such an event. I mentioned this aspect of the march to Twisp Mayor Soo Ing-Moody on Sunday. “Don’t be so quick to put people in a box,” she reminded me. Sound counsel.
Methow residents marched for many reasons on Saturday, but most, if not all, seemed to have one thing in common: an affirmation of the powers of love and tolerance over hatred and fear. Amidst all the concern people have about upcoming policy changes, the anxiety about losing access to health care, the apprehension about the future of public education, and the fears about climate change and the health of our planet, what struck me was the solidarity of a community of individuals who have each other’s back. “I stand up for you” seemed to be the theme of the gathering; “you matter to me” is what each person’s presence told his or her fellow residents.
I think feeling this sense of community camaraderie is a bit easier in a small town than in big cities, because our lives cross paths in so many ways. We know the stories of so many other community members, and it’s knowing these stories that gives us compassion for each other. And it was this compassion that formed the philosophical foundation of Saturday’s march.
It has been a while since I’ve outright pleaded for column fodder from you, but I’m doing it again now. Share your story with me. No alternative facts required — just the things that ring true for you these days. What and who are you standing up for? What and who matter to you?