At age 5 I organized a bike race
  and was afraid that no one would show.
  How delighted I was when 40 kids showed up
  and raced around the school yard
  won construction-paper awards I had crayoned
  and ate orange sherbert.
  But I feared that the fliers
  and the phone calls
  did not explain why so many had showed up
  and their magic was not valid
  so I climbed back into my little scroll of a shell.

At age 17 I organized a beach party
  I wore a sign on my back to school every day
  and on the last day of school sprayed my hair pink
  and shared the hair spray with kids who wanted to be pink, too.
  What beauty to see a sea of students sporting pink hair
  walking around school all afternoon.
  I was scared for the outcome of the party
  frightened for a low turnout
  on a cloudy day at stinson beach
  convinced that those who came were not enough.
  So after the party
  I climbed back into my spiral shell.

At age 32 I organized a group of programmers
  mutually in love with a programming language
  named after Pascal,
  mathematician and inventor of the first digital calculator,
  like the language Ada, named after Ada Byron, daughter of the poet.
  She spun poetry and Babbit's computing-machine idea
  into the first computer program.
  But we did not talk of Pascal, or Ada
  we talked about Object Oriented Programming
  and our passions for re-usable code.

And then I sank back into my shell
  of oneness
  afraid of people again.

Now at age 39 I'm organizing for peace
  Buoyed by the tide of organizers
    and walkers
    and drummers
    and dancers
    and sign bearers around me.
  I've learned to thrive on the energy the people give
  and to give again of myself
  back to the people
  to keep it going
  to channel anger into poetry
  to turn cries and screams into music
  and rhythm.
  I've learned that people are not afraid to hear my name
    and my greeting
    and my message of peace and music
    and I've finally learned
    that we are all a little bit scared to come out of our shells.
  But now I know that if we don't, we'll be stuck
  at the bottom of the sea
  with the giant octopus of security wrapped around us.

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