Lafayette Park lies at the northern end of the plaza. The once bright yellow, all capital letters leading up to the park that seems to shout “Black Lives Matter” have dulled, and the asphalt has huge cracks in some places.
The park is encased by a black wire fence that appears to be about 8 feet high. Positioned against the fence, near the small passageway for pedestrians, is a large orange triangular-shaped street sign that instructs readers to “Watch for Black Lives.”
As my daughter and I walk through the entrance behind the wall, I am wondering – Is there only one way in and one way out?
Upon entering, I see that behind the taller fence is a jersey wall, and behind the jersey wall are decorative safety bollards. The bollards are slightly taller than fire hydrants. A fence behind a fence behind a fence. I ask myself – All of this to keep the public away from a statue?
The outer fence is papered with flyers. Some of them show photos of black people who have been murdered by police offices. Many of the papers are imprinted with relevant messages. One states, “Trump must go.” Another reads, “Hello and #F*** Trump.” The explicit was spelled out. There is a photo of a young man I do not recognize beneath the caption “Rest in peace.” There is another one with a picture I remember immediately, young Trayvon Martin wearing a gray hoodie.
The statue of President Andrew Jackson that protesters attempted to topple – until forced back by law enforcement officers – still stands in the center of the square in front of the white house behind yet another fence.
I feel happy to have made that trip. It doesn’t matter that after I returned home, I forgot the cardinal rule to be followed after every workout – stretch. I paid the price for forgetting.
By the end of the day, and in the two days following, every inch of my body is aching. My ouches have ouches. Sitting down and standing up is a struggle. When I say that I had to drag one leg behind the other to walk across the room, I do not exaggerate. My body felt like it had been hit by a bus. Epsom salt baths gave little relief.
As much as I dislike popping pills, on Monday night, I took a couple of extra-strength Tylenol and did a few gentle stretches before carrying my ice pack to bed with me. By Tuesday afternoon, I was feeling a little better, and by Wednesday, better still. Today, I am almost up to par.
Although my mind constantly reiterates the mantra of “The Little Engine That Could,” my body reminds me that I am no spring chicken. Nevertheless, as long as my health prevails and granny doesn’t fall and can’t get up, I will continue to challenge myself. I know I can. I know I can. I know I can.