I remember quite clearly
when I got out of bed
I said oh, good morning
what a beautiful day
— the prophet taylor
The little girl is terrified. She’s exhausted. And she has no idea what’s happening. She’s in a group of people who have crossed two borders and covered more than 600 miles. She’s been in terrible heat and torrential rain. She has only the clothes she’s wearing and a stuffed animal pal. She walks. Every day, she walks.
Her group has shrunk from 7,000 people to 4,000. Some gave up, stopping in Mexico. Some got sick, some gave in to exhaustion, some gave up. They walk 25 miles a day, a series of desperate marathons with no finish line in sight.
There are 2,300 children in her group. Some in strollers, some being carried, many trudging along on their own.
It’s easy to ignore the abstract concept until you see her. That one little girl trying desperately to keep up with the pack, clinging to her stuffed mouse. Do we really need thousands of soldiers to stop her?
I go out for my daily stroll, and that image haunts me. I try to imagine what it’s like. My life is so safe, so comfortable. We use running as a hobby to create suffering. They use it in hopes of escaping the suffering. They’re not an ominous threat; they’re just people. Poor, desperate humans.
The little girl clings to her friend. She has no idea what life holds for her. She has no hope for a better future. Our nation, once a melting pot that’s now just melting down, won’t allow it. So she does the only thing she can. She walks.
I do the only thing I can as well, preparing for the most important walk of my life, to my polling place in two days.
Vote. For her. For all of us.
Photo by Rebecca Blackwell/AP
week 2: 36.1 miles; 9 hours, 7 minutes.