"“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird"
This is from her book, mainly about writing, called Bird by Bird, and describes how her father, a writer, talks to his son about writing. The simplicity of these words just sits right in my brain.
What this has to do with walking in circles in my neighborhood? When I started this escapade, walking 500 miles seemed ludicrous, and so, I just walked each day, some distance. Mile by mile, I just keep going. I really had no expectations about what could happen, and still am not quite sure how I have gotten so far. What I do know is that with every step, something shifts in me. This time out of the typical routines of life has given me miles of chances to feel, think, and work my heart and head around the past few years of my life. For the first few days, or even weeks, every walk was punctuated with tears, for so many different reasons, and I know that they needed to be shed now, when there is time for me to recognize and feel what I couldn't when all my energy was focused on Neal, and our beautiful children. He always walks with me, and sometimes we still talk as I stroll these familiar roads and paths. But, as the miles have gone by, I find that I spend more time in peace, and quite often joy.
Mile by mile, bird by bird, my heart is healing.