Step by Step

I’ve been walking a lot in recent days. Monday afternoon, the sun was bright and the air crisp as I took my half-hour afternoon walk around the neighborhood for the first time in weeks, after all the Nor’easters of late. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the sunshine. Neighbors chatted as their leashed dogs waited patiently. Couples strolled. A little boy pushed his scooter down an empty, dead-end street. Clumps of snow seeped silently into the ground.

On Saturday, I did more walking—about six miles. With a group of teens and adults from our synagogue, Al and I hiked to City Hall for the local March for Our Lives. After a rally of inspiring student speeches, several thousand of us walked down Main Street in support of common sense gun control, from City Hall to the old Court House, the line stretching for blocks. Al and I peeled off as the march circled back to City Hall, stopping off at the Art Museum for a break and then walking home.

I wasn’t sure if I could do it all. My feet are easily tired, and by the time we were on our way back, my knees and hips were protesting. But some ibuprofin and a nap helped. By Sunday morning, my body was mostly back to normal.

I’m lucky. My biggest worry when I go out for a walk is how well my feet and joints will hold up. Not so for too many children in our nation who have to worry about getting shot as they walk through their neighborhoods to school.

When I was in elementary school, we had air raid drills to practice what to do in case of a nuclear attack. The idea sounds ludicrous now. Once, when I was in the fifth grade, we took the hands of first graders and walked with the rest of the school to a nearby public building that housed a community fallout shelter. We all thought it was a fun excuse to get out of our classroom.

The lockdown drills to practice for an active shooter, so common for today’s school children, are deadly serious. We may not all agree on what needs to be done to end the scourge of gun violence in our nation. But we can at least agree that this is a public health crisis that demands everyone’s involvement in finding a solution. One step, one march, one vote at a time.

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.

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