This morning I started wearing-in some new boots as well as trying out new walking sticks to prepare for my journey. Both took some getting used to, but I felt strong and light on my feet. Almost, that is, until the very end, when, upon walking reaching my house, I found, a bird, dead, directly in front of the drive way. She was not run over, there was no blood, but she was motionless, her feet tucked in, still, laying on her side, and dead.
The song of birds has been a buoyant and playful companion to my mornings this spring. I listen closely, as if I can almost make it out. I think of my nieces, their lively playfulness, especially before they learned to talk. The song of birds is like that, like small children playing, like a soft tickle, a series of small kisses, or the flutter of a butterfly's wings.
I did not know what to do when I saw this particular bird, this, morning. However, I knew that her life was sacred, that this moment, was sacred too. I dug a small hole in the backyard of my house, and placed her inside. I covered her with a small layer of soil, to protect her from I do not know what, before I paused to breathe, meditate, and reflect.
I cried, though I had no tears. I added more layers of soil, and then grass. I cut off a piece of golden yarn from RadJoy, and wrapped it around a small rock, which I laied gently on top of the grass. I breathed some more and slowly other twigs found their way around the grave, in another circle of sacred awareness, interconnected indebtedness. I prayed for the wisdom to know what to do with this grief, and all the grief we humans have caused to Life, so much other life, and to our selves. I am still praying, and grieving, and thanking the Universe for being with me and holding me in her lap. In just over a week I begin my pilgrimage, a 2.5 month journey by foot, from Boston to Detroit. I will be Walking To Listen - to birds and to trees, to rivers and to caterpillars, to the stories of people's grief, and resilience, curiosity and hope, and Radical Joy in the face of it all. If you would like to join me, for a mile, for a week, or for a day, let me know!