March 11, 2010

walking, healing, walking - 700 miles for a Nuclear Free Future

They are walking the 700 mile Northern Route, from Salamanca in Western New York to the United Nations in NYC. The came from around the country and as far away as Japan and France. They started walking with the Senecas, The Keepers of the Western Gate, and plan to visit the Six Nations territories along the way.

They will end this walk attending a rally at the UN on May 2nd calling for the elimination of all nuclear weapons forever. They will be joined by a 900 mile walk from Oakridge, Tennessee; another from Burlington, Vermont; and one from Washington DC. The United Nations begins its review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty on May 3rd.

At the end of the day, some of the walkers were stretching, massaging and treating their aching muscles, joints and super blisters with Moxa rolls so they could continue their journey in the morning. The burning mugwort gives off heat and a healing herbal smoke.

As I watch the dedication and compassion exhibited by these international peacemakers, I am left hoping more of us are inspired to act in personal or collective ways to work to relieve the suffering of so many. The elimination of nuclear weapons forever seems like a great place to start.

I watched the walkers pray for the health and safety of the workers and guards at West Valley and those who will hopefully be cleaning it up in the near future as they prayed to see the site cleaned up and the earth healed.

I remember decades ago when I first heard about the mission of a group called Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. We were standing outside the Tavern on the Lake after the Crestmen finished their set. Mike drove by standing up on his motorcycle drunk out of his mind and people were laughing commenting on how he wasn't going to make it through the night. Months later he died in a car crash. I remember thinking how impossible the MADD goal seemed. But now, decades later, so many people no longer laugh at the drunk driver, not only headed to his grave, but all the other innocent people he will take with him. It took a long time and their job isn't completed, but it doesn't look as impossible as it did back then.

When I think about the huge odds against us challenging the nuclear proponents, they remind me of the drunks who don't care who they take with them or how much fear they put in people's lives. The walkers help me see the necessity of acting together and acting now. Some of the changes coming up will not be reversible.

If you get the chance walk for a day, a week or the rest of the way. It will give you some time to think about it. Visit with them when they come to your community on the way to NYC.

The walkers will get to Buffalo Sunday afternoon and vigil outside the NYSERDA, The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, offices at 726 Exchange Street. Then they will end their days walk in front of the City Hall. On Monday everyone is invited to a potluck and discussion, Since "the Department of Energy may be announcing its decision on the West Valley Clean-up that very day, this promises to be an even more significant gathering".

Schedule and map for the Northern Route.

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