I walk in the mornings. Somehow I knew that it would save me, my body moving forward in space while my heart was reaching back over the ocean. My shoes are old but barely used, bought on an assignment with Remi in Vancouver many years ago with the aim of exploring further afield.
I follow the sidewalk circling the blocks of the subdivision, fast-paced, arms swinging. It is a movement I remember from my past, even further ago, when, penniless, I would head up through Central Park for an hour and a half, chasing the chimera of an adult self not yet born. The houses I pass these days are closed up. I can never understand it for they are all lived in. For some reason, people seem to want to say, "We aren't home." It is the opposite of what I want.
When I first arrived back to the States, I brushed snow out of my eyes, then the crocuses rose; now the trees wave and I swipe away the heat. It is Monday and I am listening to Tara Brach speak calming words in a podcast, spooling out a future of possibilities, through borrowed headphones. Buddhist insights mixed with pragmatic psychology. I am so focused that I nearly crush the little half moon on the sidewalk, blowing sideways, tumbleweed. Pause pressed, I bend down, sunglasses lowered, to see.
It is a fallen birds nest. I straighten back up, hand perplexedly on hip, to discern from which tree. But it is stolidly in the middle of a nowhere. My nowhere. I crouch back and pick it up, unthinkingly. Now it is scented with me.
It must have been quite comfortable with its lining of cotton, puffed and shredded, a true find for a mama bird, welcoming. This light thing, so fragile in my hands. Grass carefully bended and pecked into shape. "Little by little, the bird makes its nest." This is a phrase that Remi and I shared so often, almost like a code. "Petit à petit, l'oiseau fait son nid." We built our lives over fifteen years and did so with such pride that only the first three words were needed to be uttered for an understanding to be passed between us like a wink.
I let my heart fall into the softness between the twigs to rest, put the nest down and kept walking, my face whipped taught like a sheet. "Little by little"..."little by little"..."little by little" on Monday morning.
And then that rhythm of thought and footfall, repeating like a dance or pulsing like lights in the nightclub, one filled with bodies twisting joyfully. Friends and loves, flirtations and fantasy projecting into a future too, one stretching towards a weekend feel of forever, also with such pride, also solid yet free, but sucked so quickly into the void, bullet-snuffed.
"Petit à petit" my tears could fall, sliding down my chin to tap the concrete.
It didn't make sense but it did to me, that eventually - not immediately but eventually - I changed my steps stumbling to come back to that nest. I chose a tree, the one with the right branches and tucked it up as high as I could reach. It was too late, too late for so many things but I wanted it to be safe. So that maybe, somehow, one day those possibilities that I had held between within my fingers could be wishing true fulfilled.
I check on the nest every day when I pass by just to make sure it is still there and am thinking of it now, looking out the window as an early summer rain comes down. Because it is so fragile. As we are, yet strong enough to make a home out of the best in us. And we do.
I am sending so much Love and Strength to the families, friends and loved ones of the victims of the terrorist attack in Orlando.