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Shadows stretched long, their skew shifting and shortening as the sun slid low across the southern sky.

An overhead heater in the small lobby warmed my body, needed despite the layers of turtleneck, sweater, and parka meant for the out of doors. Beyond the door glass and the privacy fence thirty feet distant, on along the public way, a few fervent sign holders declared their usual. Opposition to a singular choice brought them there, to burrow their collective noses into the private business of others and implant their singular opinion.

Later in the morning, men arrived in pea coats and Rocket J Squirrel aviator hats, the chinstraps left unfastened. One placard claimed men regretted lost fatherhood, another God knew whomever before birth, presumably the reader. Women walked in knee length down coats and knitted hats. Thirteen walked the ice to either side of the drive, an endless parade intent on imposition of distress. A prayer circle formed on the bare pavement of the parking entrance, a blockage I ended with a polite request to clear the passage.

Did they watch what the rest of us watched on 14 December, at a place a hundred twenty miles away? Did they feel the same pull to picket the manufacturing places named Sig Sauer or Sturm Ruger? I’ve a hunch, given the politics expressed in the past, those places are sacrosanct shrines to the gods of patriarchy. Only foetuses matter.

Around noon, a priest gave a benediction at the inauguration of Maggie Hassan as governor. He mentioned his wish she protect the unborn. I didn’t hear a peep out of him about the children entrusted to the care of the church he represented.