My mother recently handed me some old letters I had sent to my parents years ago, along with an email that she had saved. I wrote the email on June 3, 2000, when I was living in Boulder, Colorado. Re-reading my little fable, I was struck at how true it still felt almost fourteen years later. So I decided to reprint it here.
Once there was a woman named Little Bird who was traveling on a long and winding road. Her travels took her up and down, back and forth, through difficult times and out again to the other side where difficulties melted away.
Once, when Little Bird had been traveling along a particularly baffling and confusing part of the road, she was given a book by a friend who saw that she was in pain. This same friend had once shown her a special path near the mountains that led to a stone that he told her was a special stone.
Little Bird woke up one day and, seeing the sun blazing in the sky, became determined to find that special stone herself and read from the book. She traveled to the edge of the mountains but could not find the beginning of the path. She looked and looked, believing that this as the one and only path that she must find in order to find the stone. Time and again she took a wrong turn until finally, just as she was on the brink of giving up, she saw the beginning of the path.
After this, Little Bird became even more determined to find the stone. After all, she believed that the place where she had been shown the stone was the only place where she would find her answers.
For a long time, as the sun blazed hotter and hotter, Little Bird searched for the stone. After searching and searching, the heat became intense and Little Bird was out of water. She realized she had a choice. She could either continue to search for the stone, or she could accept that it was not in her destiny to find it. She looked up and realized that she was in a beautiful place in a meadow full of wildflowers, with mountains in front of her. Although this was not the place Little Bird was seeking, it was a beautiful place, and she decided that this was all that mattered.
Little Bird sat down and took out the book. She read and read. After a while she realized that she would soon be too tired to read anymore, so she finished one last chapter. In that chapter the book said: “You want something to hold on to, you want to say, ‘finally I have found it. This is it, and now I feel confirmed and secure and righteous…The harder, more courageous thing…is continually to look one’s own beliefs straight in the face, honestly and clearly, and then step beyond them.”
Little Bird looked up at the sky and the mountains and the beautiful meadow. She realized that by letting go of her search for the one stone where she believed she would find the answers, she had opened herself up to finding something different, but just as beautiful.
Little Bird packed up her book and stood up, and turned in a direction that she hoped would take her home.
She had taken only a few steps when her eyes fell on something familiar on the path. She looked up quickly and couldn’t believe her eyes.
There, just ahead, was the stone she had been seeking all along.