(c) 2010 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2010 Christiana Lambert

You go to the river path to get away from it all—but you never can really get away from it all, can you?

While running today I wrote a different blog post than this one in my head—in fact I had so much to say that I spent my cool-down walk writing notes into my phone. But that post will have to wait.

Last week the snow fell, with the bitter winds and below zero temperatures making sure the running paths remained quite treacherous. Such a contrast, this week’s warm-up has been such a blessing, even if my neighborhood sidewalks still sport more ice than feels safe for pounding the pavement. That’s why I sought out the river path a couple days this week.

Tuesday, I almost had the still snowy path to myself, but today many runners, walkers, and cyclists took to the much drier trail. Though snow still covered much of the open spaces, blue skies, mild temperatures, and a light breeze teased away most thoughts of cold. This is the Colorado we outdoor enthusiasts love: one where extreme winter weather is soon forgotten and replaced by temperatures that even Goldilocks would like. Yes, today was not too cold and not too hot, but just right.

Just right, that is, until another runner’s voice broke through my mellow post-run thoughts. He was shouting into his phone, “What happened? What happened?” The continued urgency in his voice concerned me—I hoped that nothing major had happened in his world. Yet as he talked on, asking about police cars and lockdowns, I got that feeling in my gut—you know that not again feeling?—that was followed by a distant rash of sirens that wailed above the everyday sounds.

The man had walked to his car as he talked, but once he finished the call, he turned back—as if he couldn’t be silent—or alone.

“There’s been a shooting at Arapahoe High School,” he said before telling me what little else he knew.

We both looked to the east. My mind, at least, was following those emergency vehicles to their destination and, to what this time? I just shook my head and said, “Our kids shouldn’t have to live like this.”

Like the strangers we were, we both went back to our own cars, before driving off to our own lives, our own neighborhoods, our own families. I ran through the names and faces in my head of people whose children might be at that school and I prayed. I prayed for the kids and the teachers and those rushing to help.

But don’t kid yourself—we are all Columbine (High School). This isn’t about Colorado or Connecticut or wherever the next school shooting happens. This is about all of us and the society and times in which we live. Pray for us all—how did school shootings get to be so ordinary? Or at least, when did it start to seem less than extraordinary when yet another school shooting shattered what had started out as an ordinary day?