Sherry Arnold was a teacher, runner, and mother who lived in eastern Montana. By all accounts she was very loved. She went out for a run in early January and never came back. Two men have been arrested in her disappearance. Sherry is still missing.
This morning I'm taking part in a virtual run for Sherry. I start up the trail. I'm slow. I struggle up hills that surveyors wouldn't notice. I run the first mile and a half a full four minutes slower than the time in September that I ran here with my friend who wore barefoot shoes. Then, winter was only a whisper on the horizon. Today, the spikes on my shoes slip on the ice. There is only one set of footprints past the overlook, and nobody's been on the Family Loop lately. I'm alone.
Right now people all over the world are running for Sherry. I imagine us, breathing in unison, running with others or on solitary trails, on city streets or country roads or leaving our footprints in the snow. We are connected, although most of us will never meet.
At the turnaround it feels easier. I look at the snowy trees and think about the damage that people can do, how hurt can spread like ripples in the water when you throw a rock into a lake, moving far past the point of impact. I can't help Sherry now, or the other women who have been taken for no reason. But I can act with kindness. I can appreciate the people who stay around, and realize that the ones who walked out of my life thought they needed to, although I might never understand why. And I can run today to celebrate a life. I hope you can see all of us today, Sherry. This is for you.