Watching the long, snake-like procession of pink-clad warriors walk along the strip mall lined streets of Des Moines, WA, I could not help but be amazed by what Annie, her team, and all of the participants and volunteers are doing. Essentially, a large group of people (mostly women!) have devoted themselves to an idea, one that does not make claims for an ultimate truth or represent a political end but rather one that fully asserts the need to care for one another. Many people my age are quite cynical -- I at times certainly am -- yet watching this spectacle, I came to realize that many of the people throwing their legs forward, foot after foot, enduring tremendous pain, walk in the memory of lost friends and family, and quite a few themselves are survivors. They walk not only for themselves and their immediate circle, but for all threatened by a horrible disease, and no one could be a cynic in the face of such a diverse group of motivated and positive humans. This is the sort of activism and thinking we speak of in sad remembrance when talking about the civil rights movement (one that Annie was a part of), or the sort of energy we dream about when we talk about changing our future as a community or a country, but what Annie and all involved in this walk are doing shows that the times aren't so dark as they are serious. Today after eating lunch with my mother, father and Mary Gardner, I drove back along I-5 with a giant smile on my face and felt so so proud of my mother and honored to have sat alongside all of those who walked today.
Today was quite a physically and emotionally demanding day for Annie. Her feet were a varying number of colors, ones quite like the purples and deep blues found in the Francis Bacon painting we saw at the Pompidou in Paris. The day began with a surgery, not on Annie's feet, but on her shoes (they're saving the surgery on the feet for later!). With her trusty Swiss Army Knife and direction from the pocket-knife wizard Leroy, Annie removed donut-hole sized sections from her Asics, in the hopes of leaving more space for her aching blisters. The day ended many miles later when the pain was too great to continue. Annie is OK, but will most definitely be making a trip to the doctor after day three!
I am going to wrap it up with a few pictures from our lunch. We think Annie may get to do some walking tomorrow and she will return to the command of this blog after the walk ends.
--Annie's loving son James