It was this time of year, spring 2015, when I led my first community walk as a newly trained Walk2Connect Walking Movement Leader. My son was two years old, and I wanted to host a stroller-friendly fitness walk, so I designed a route around my neighborhood, where contiguous sidewalks and multi-use paths would make it easy for others to join me. Our Boulder Ramblers group started small, but it grew strong. And it all began at a cafe in the Table Mesa Shopping Center.
This week, the store that anchors that shopping center - the store where I have bought my groceries for the past decade, where the familiar faces of the clerks and managers and Starbucks baristas make me feel at home - became the site of violence beyond my comprehension, beyond reason.
Like other Boulderites, I have been in a daze since Monday, shocked and horrified by the shooting that brought home to us the terrible reality so many others around our country have had to hold. Ten lives stolen. A whole city, state, nation shaken. An all-too-common collective grief caused by one man's impulse to fire his fear and rage into others instead of seeking help. How do we walk through this together?
My son is now eight years old. The man who pulled that trigger was someone's son, too. I keep thinking about the multiple and overlapping epidemics sickening our society - loneliness, mental health crises, addiction, multilayered inequalities, racism, fear, disconnection from ourselves and the meaning of life. How do we walk with each other, with our children, with people who are scared and alone, to let our fear and sickness and rage sink out of our hands and into the earth, step by step?
I tell my son that pain is normal, but violence is not. That we have to find healthy ways to deal with our feelings and calm our minds. That everyone deserves to live with a sense of safety and peace. It isn't always easy or natural, but we need friends and family and mentors to guide us toward our best selves. We need to be loved and seen. How do we walk to bask in the light of our inner worthiness and to reflect it back to each other?
The Boulder Ramblers have walked with me through my own hard times and have unceasingly held me up with love, helping me release pent-up frustration and fear and anger through the simple act of walking by my side, listening and sharing. We do this for each other. Now, we need each other more than ever.
We walk through this time together by knowing someone will always show up for us when we need them. We walk each other through big feelings and times of doubt by moving side-by-side, in empathy and care. We walk and reflect the light of worthiness by seeing each other for who we really are. Let us continue to care for each other, to persist in peace and resilience, and to walk our way toward a day when we and all of our sons are so held by love that all we can do is celebrate the joy of existence.
--Darcy Kitching, South Boulder resident, Boulder Ramblers leader, and Walk2Connect Co-op Movement Building Owner