Tuesday, November 9, 2010 arrived with a clear early morning that promised to become a chilly, sunny, and typically autumn day. I zipped my coat, buckled my helmet strap, unlocked my bike, and headed off to work. A few minutes later, a garbage truck crossed a bike lane to make a right turn. I was in that bike lane. The tires of the truck crushed my left leg and caused other internal injuries. An amazing team of trauma surgeons saved my life, but they had to amputate my leg to do so.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Confucius.

In July 2011, I set off to walk a thousand miles as an above-knee amputee in my new prosthesis. The journey has held more twists, turns, and detours than I ever imagined.

I reached Mile 1000 on March 30, 2013.

But of course, that wasn't the end.

I'll keep walking!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Why I March

Mile 4760:

I almost didn't march today.

Here's why:  It had been a busy work week.  On top of that, I rock climbed on Wednesday night, celebrated Deb's birthday on Thursday night, and went to a housewarming party on Friday night.  I expected this weekend to be jam-packed as well.

It was too much leg time.  I was exhausted.  Just thinking about the Women's March pushed me over the edge.

"I can't do it all," I told my mom last night.  "I need to skip something, and that's the one event where I won't be missed."

The Women's March would be happening in all 50 states.  I am just one person.  Mathematically, I wouldn't matter a whole lot.

But when morning arrives, I can't explain it.  I just KNOW I should be there.

So I hop on the bus.  Meet Mom at the train.  And then we walk for the next 3 hours!

We stroll down Market Street, through City Hall, and toward the Ben Franklin Parkway.  Stop at Sister Cities Park and then join the crowd at Logan Circle.

It's a cloudy gray day, but Swann Fountain is transformed into a rainbow-colored playground.

This is what HOPE looks like!

And that's just the beginning.  From there, we join the marchers -- a solid MILE of people!

How could you NOT follow this family?!


Thanks for the hats,
Aunt Robin!
We bob along in a sea of Pussyhats.

Chants surround us:
Women's rights are human rights! 
Black lives matter!
This is what democracy looks like! 
...and so many more.


Signs bounce like buoys above our heads!


I don't like crowds, yet I feel safe in this one.  Reinforced.  Protected.  Like everyone might be a friend.

There are some things we all agree on!

Another sign up ahead (too far for a photo) catches my eye.  It says:  If this ship is going down, we might as well have a parade.

Yesterday I watched the inauguration from the rehab gym, and that's exactly what I thought. This ship is going down.  As the Obamas said goodbye, and Trump was sworn in, I turned up the treadmill.  I rowed faster on the rowing machine.  I did abs, and arms, and pull-ups, and push-ups.  A few people asked why I was so intense.  (Usually, I just hang out and chat with everyone!)

"I have to get ready," I said.  "Life as we know it is over."  I was only half-joking.  I felt this urgent need to get stronger, to be able to survive when things go awry.

I imagined the restricted world in The Handmaid's Tale, and the lonely wilderness in Station Eleven, and the insidious suppression in The Nightingale, and the post-apocalyptic darkness in The Bone Clocks.  Ok, maybe I read too much.  Or maybe I catastrophize too much.  But in that hour of TV coverage, I pictured all the things that could go terribly WRONG in the next four years and beyond.

The Women's March pushes those thoughts away.

At Mile 4,760, I don't think this ship is going down at all.  Not here.  Not with all these caring, kind, intelligent, open-minded, and resourceful passengers aboard!

Yes, I'm still worried.  Yes, I still feel the need to be on guard.

And yes, I can see many more marches in my future.  Because along with all the messages today, I can never forget this one:


And I thought my voice wouldn't matter?

One voice matters.  Every voice matters.


And that's why I marched.

3 comments:

  1. Bravo for your intelligence and your commitment to do what is right!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rebecca, as usual your gift for using your words is totally Inspiring. I marched in DC for all the same reasons. I hesitated to do so at first for fear of the crowds and other reasons that in retrospect pale in comparison to the invigorating, convicting experience that marching for what I believe in gave me yesterday. It's also funny that you mention The Nightingale, since we read that in my book club and I so identified with the main character while reading that book. I told my husband that like her fortitude in fighting against the injustices of Hitler, I am fortified to fight against the injustices this new administration seeks to inflict on us!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This gave me chills, Rick -- in a good way! Lately I feel like I did when I was young and would hear about some potential catastrophe (killer bees, Idi Amin, nuclear war, dormant volcanoes about to erupt, etc.). Back then I would obsess about the threats, thinking that they were coming for ME. That all those horrible things would find us in our safe place. And my mom would reassure me that we were fine -- no danger of killer bees, African dictators, or virtually any man-made or natural disaster (besides tornadoes) finding us in the Midwest. But now I feel like the scary thing has found us. It is Trump, but it is MORE than Trump. It is the vitriol of people who believe him without question, who join in his hate, who lash out at a group of peace-loving women marchers. I don't know what is happening to our country, but I don't like it and Saturday was a reminder that we can stop it. Thank you for marching!!!

    ReplyDelete