I imagine Keith still riding his bike, forever 15.
My brother Keith and I loved to hike Mt. Peak together. It’s a small mountain outside our home town, just a bike ride away. The mountain has a well-worn path created from more than a century of dedicated hikers. On his last day on Earth, Keith and I tried to talk our folks into letting us skip school to hike Mt. Peak, as I was going away to college the next day. We didn’t make our case. Tragically, while walking home from school later that day, Keith was abducted by a stranger, shot and killed.
My partner George and I still trek from Seattle to my hometown half a dozen times a year to climb Mt. Peak. The clean, fresh air scented with the lush undergrowth and giant trees towering above makes for a heady combination. Birds call out our approach along the way. We meet hikers of all ages on the path, rain or shine, sometimes with small children the same age as Keith and me when we started hiking there together. I honor Keith with gun violence prevention activism and feel his presence on the path I’ve taken. Somewhere in heaven, Keith’s still riding his bike to a nearby mountain, forever 15.