I’m walking… in the July 4 parade.

7,392,000 steps: that’s the main title on the banner I had made up for the July 4 parade. A friend suggested that I needed a big number, something to catch people’s attention.

In smaller print on the banner is printed “WalkingHome,” and across the entire banner is my route across the country.

Do I have your attention?

I tend to be long-winded: my motivation for taking this walk is not reducible to 128 characters. But to gain the kind of support I need I need to have a message that’s easy to understand.

That’s probably the biggest challenge of the walk: not the steps it will take, but the gap between people’s interest (which is narrowing to tweet-sized) and the many experiences that have motivated me to take this long walk.

Yes, I hope to raise a lot of money for the Task Force and for their effort to build a permanent shelter for the homeless of the area.

But I am equally inspired by the hundreds of community organizations that exist, just beneath the surface and so often out of sight, of the public.

And not just the Rotary clubs and the Lions and the Moose and the Masons and the Kiwanis, but the many community health non-profits, and the dozens of youth sports organizations and food banks and the church groups and the environmental non-profits and on and on and on.

I feel a real commitment to spreading that gospel, to countering the divisiveness that seems to be spreading like a dark shadow over our country by showing how community-spirit is a thread you can follow back and forth across the country.

I’m pulling on that thread and, I believe, its a hundred times longer than the measly few million steps I will take following it. Community is the fabric our country is composed of. Community is the hammock I will sleep in every night.

And oh yeah, I am walking in the July 4 parade.

Look for the banner that says, “7,392,000 steps.”

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