First, let me apologize for my relatively long blog silence. Some may cheer my absence but I am glad to be back with a new blog design that screams “homespun”.
Second, I have an announcement to make. I am back in school. No, I am not pursing the ever elusive doctorate or other degree. I am engaged in something much more difficult that requires infinitely more attention, discipline, and rigor: 7th grade math and science (and 1st yr. Latin)
In an effort to help my children succeed in their new school I am working with them almost every evening on those subjects that are most difficult for both of them and for me. When my daughter was overwhelmed by all of the work, and suffused with frustration and despair, I read a brief passage to her from one of my favorite books. My hope is that this little mantra will help her take deep, clear headed breaths and allow her to move ahead steadily in school.
So after I have completely exhausted myself thinking about the people I most resent in the world, and my more arresting financial problems, and, of course, the orthodontia, I remember to pick up the one inch picture frame and figure out a one inch piece of story to tell, one small scene, one memory, one exchange. I also remember a story I know I have told elsewhere but that over and over helps me to get a grip: 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, which 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.”