Yesterday was a glorious day here in Portland, Oregon. The sun is a rarity in these parts, and the weather forecast had called for a day of rain, which I’m learning is pretty typical. The only true measure of the weather here is to simply step outside and take a look and feel for one’s self.
I have many ongoing house projects as Caleb and I prepare to let out a room in our home. Currently, I’m working on getting the kitchen floor sanded and finished. I’m also working on stripping paint from some old moulding we purchased over last weekend. A hundred years of paint takes time to remove, but I think I’ve managed to figure out how to get the results we want.
It was while I was waiting for the fourth application of stripper to take effect that I checked my phone. I mindlessly opened the Facebook app on my phone to see what my contacts were up to on a Monday. That’s when I heard about what had happened in Boston at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Like here, it was a glorious spring day. Like here, people were getting out and enjoying the sun as much as they could. People were lined up all along the race route like they have been for the last hundred years, cheering and congratulating runners as they make their trek from Hopkington, MA to Copley Square, Boston. 26.2 miles. For many, this is a lifetime achievement. For many, they were running for a cause – for cancer treatment, for their families, for their friends, for the memories of those who have passed away. Each runner had a story. They always do. The Boston Marathon, while I was living in Boston, was a day of civic pride for the little city in New England. It was steeped in tradition, as most things in Boston and the New England region are. Yesterday’s race day was like so many others that had happened in the past.
Until, that is, two bombs went off at the finish line, killing two people and seriously injuring and maiming many others.
I caught the live news feed on my laptop, and proceeded to remained glued to my computer for the better part of the next hour. Frantically, I was texting friends and loved ones back east, making sure they were okay. I scanned Facebook for status updates from those I hadn’t texted, knowing that if they posted on there, they were okay. I stood in tears and shock as the images of the bomb explosions streamed over the wifi and into my kitchen.
The sun beamed in all its brilliance upon the freshly-planted garden in the back yard. Hammers were being swung at the new construction project at the end of our block. I could hear the crows in the trees across the street.
My reaction was one of horror. I could not, nor can I now, understand why anyone would do this sort of thing. I suppose, at the end of the day, I will never understand acts of violence such as this. I will never forget where I was on September 11, 2001. I have seen the images of war and the destruction this has caused so many people. I have experienced living too close to mass execution of movie goers. I have seen grade school children and teachers shot at. And now, I have seen runners and their supporters made into targets and victims of some stranger’s madness.
I have seen and experienced too much. I know I’m not alone, either. We have all experienced too much violence, too much loss, too much darkness.
My reaction today is one of carrying on. I remain saddened. I remain worried about the safety of my friends and loved ones.
Still, the house needs my attention. The old moulding needs to be stripped and restored to its former glory. The sun will still beam down on a garden that will need all of my attention with weeds and plant maintenance over the coming weeks. Things will continue whether I worry and dwell on what happened in Boston yesterday. I need to remember this.