bird sense

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No one cares about birds on days when there are stories about harassment and assaults going back to age three (#metoo). But I did, and I wrote about it yesterday.

Because if I can’t write about birds and the thoughts that get stuck in me, the thoughts get more stuck, and I can’t watch the birds. And I certainly can’t address the trauma of a whole society of us, each with too many stories we haven’t told.

So if I don’t write, I lose twice: I miss out on the birds, and I’m lost for the stories.

I’ve been walking every day for two months. The first day it was just down the hall, very, very slowly. A few days later, I walked outside, with dreams of looping the field and standing on my favorite hill. But instead, I only made it to the bench 50 yards away, and I was exhausted and napped for two hours when I made it back inside, on the couch.

Now I’m walking further and faster, sometimes even two or three times a day. “Further and faster” is relative; I’m still not back to my usual pace, my usual distance. But every day is a little better.

And really, isn’t that the question of everyday life? Maybe we have some setbacks. Maybe sometimes it’s hard to see that we’ve changed at all. But generally: are we each day slowly (maybe more slowly than we wanted) moving in the direction we want?

Yesterday, on my second of three walks of the day, I stopped at a different bench – one further away than that first one two months ago. I sat and felt all the decisions I need to make, all the questions, all the negotiations of an autumn I didn’t plan – all getting tangled in my brain.

And then I felt the wind. And I saw the birds flying in, flying out.

Last year when I was sick, I would sit on the porch and watch birds come and go. Some days, it was all I could do, so I did it.

Birds have a hierarchy; I looked it up. One swoops in while another waits. They each know their place. Movement happens, not with the conformity of a conveyor belt – it appears more random than that. But the nature site told me there is a Bird Sense about it all.

Nothing gets clogged, no funnel overflows, no strings (or wings) get tangled.

Birds come and go, some fast, some slow, each in its own time.

Yesterday I imagined each thought I had, each question, each decision I have to make, as a bird – flying in, flying out. Perching to watch, letting me examine it, but then moving on. The thoughts and questions and decisions landed, some staying longer than others, some waiting till the first ones left, then they moved on, and maybe came back.

And things weren’t as clogged.

And after a few minutes I got up, and walked back home in the sun.



4 thoughts on “bird sense

  1. Thanks Michelle for you thoughts, so enjoyed reading them. so much of what goes on in our minds we don’t take the time to think through or make sense of. sometimes life makes us stop and smell the flowers and watch the birds! I need to do more of that! Glad you are making progress, that your walks are getting longer and that you are having time to watch the birds! Alma

  2. Thanks Michelle. I was mopey earlier this week because I ran a marathon on Sunday a full 15 minuets slower than I wanted to. A friend pointed out that this was the running equivalent of a first world problem (“you still finished a freaking marathon”). Your post was a timely and needed kick in my grumpy pants. It’s about taking the next step, then the next. And then perching well. Thanks too for observing the birds and sharing what you see.

    • Glad to hear this post resonated with you. It’s hard when we can’t do what we want to do! Step by step seems to be a theme in my life these days… (And congrats on completing yet another marathon!)

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