I walked along Charlottesville's downtown mall a couple nights ago, and life was returning to normal, but a gentler normal. Everyone seemed just a little softer... walked a little slower, held the door for strangers and smiled a little longer... The horrifying events last weekend were a reminder of how fragile we all are.
A mother and her young daughter held a sign outside a storefront, "Charlottesville, we love you," as they handed out flowers to passersby. I took one and laid it in the makeshift memorial on 4th Street where a white nationalist had driven his car into a crowd a couple days before. The police tape was gone and the blood had been cleaned, but a circle of flowers and candles and hand-written messages marked the spot. A scattered, revolving assembly of observers, mostly young, stared through the asphalt in silent reflection, unsure of what else to do, and a few whispered sentiments to no one in particular.