I love to travel and I've done quite a bit of it. Over the years I have walked through the Giant Redwoods and Sequoias and rafted Colorado's rapids. I have stood on the cliffs of the Gaspe in the mouth of the St. Lawrence and strolled the crystal-white beaches of the Caribbean. I have climbed Eiffel's Tower and strolled the roof of the Leaning Tower. I have climbed the Empire State building, walked the walls of British Castles, and stumbled down Bourbon Street.
I definitely haven't done "it all," but I have seen the world through many different cultures and peoples. That being said, however, I have had my eyes opened in even more ways than I ever thought possible this weekend; and it was beautiful.
I am at a retreat in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and I have seen the world through an entirely new perspective. Prior to planning this trip, I did not know that P-Town is gay Mecca (like, genuinely, no idea). I was invited to meet up with other friends from around the country and we rented a gorgeous home on the water and enjoyed our time away from the challenges of work, families, and daily life. It's been great.
Even though the summer rush has passed, the streets are still packed with couples (and singles) of every size, sex, and creed. Every day in P-Town is Pride. Literally. The main street of town is lined with rainbow flags, all of the shops have their "Equality" stickers in their windows, and gay and lesbian couples fill the paths and walkways - all walking hand in hand.
While out on the town for some light shopping and exploring Saturday night, I stopped outside Provincetown City Hall where a lesbian couple had set up their amps and were serenading the coursing crowds with their sultry voices and guitars and other various stringed instruments. As I listened to their beautiful ballads, I looked at the rest of onlookers and saw a group of three benches just off the side of the square. On each bench sat an older couple: a gay couple; a straight couple; and a lesbian couple.
Each partnership sat listening to the music, holding his or her lover's hand, and quietly chatted with the other couples in the group. As I stood across the street watching them, I started to get misty eyed. I longed for the love that I could see each of them had for their spouse, I yearned for the lifetime of partnership that it looked like they had shared, and I craved the acceptance that they shared with not only their friends around the circle, but that was equally given to them by the rest of the community.
I realize that Provincetown, Massachusetts, is a unique place; the economy is built on gay tourism and as a result the town's view of homosexuality is going to vary significantly from mainstream America, BUT it gave me hope. My resolve to see change in the country that I love has been reinvigorated and I am truly grateful for the courage, compassion, and dignity that each couple - gay and straight - showed. It was beautiful.