The sun cracked through the late-morning cloud cover gracing the hour-long ceremony in Washington, D.C., officially appointing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the 46th president and vice-president of the United States, bathing the Capitol-building stage in soft, new light just as Lady Gaga closed a stately rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.

” The moment signified a shift in a terrible chapter in American history, one where reality became fractured and disputable and where the very air we breathe became a danger to public health. It was cloying, too obvious. Everything is now.

The storm of the Trump years passed as the outgoing 45th president departed for his Florida home after 11 harrowing weeks of speculation as to whether Trump would, or could, simply toss the votes that delivered the victory to his opponent in November and stay on as commander-in-chief, a struggle that came to a head exactly two weeks prior on the same Capitol steps in a bloody insurrection that left five dead and millions more afraid that the country had hit its breaking point. Inauguration Day is about new beginnings, but this one was about closure.