Chelle Summer


Taking My Steps

Michelle Rusk

Some years ago, I was leading a workshop on suicide prevention at a resort outside Phoenix. We were working with a group of people– all Navajo– from the Navajo Nation. It was a multi-day workshop and on the second morning when I went for my run among the saguaro cactus, I saw one of the participants also out for run. We waved and greeted each other.

Later, when we had gathered for the second day of the workshop, he said that as Navajos they believe it's important to start the day by "taking our steps"– if possible, when the sun is rising.

I didn't realize it at the time but it's something I do every day. As the years have gone on and I've gathered more dogs into my home, my run got earlier and earlier so to allow time for them to have their walks as well.

Each morning I am out before the sun comes up and finishing with Chaco's short walk to the park by the time daylight is covering the city. 

And during that time, I see how much I appreciate not just darkness turning to light but the space of reflection that gives me. For years I have been praying on my run-walk with Chaco, giving thanks for the day before and asking for what I need in my life. 

But about a month ago I hurt my leg after an accident with Lilly, my youngest dog– as she was flying down the stairs, I was walking up then and she ran her head into my knee. I had several days where I wasn't allowed to go on a walk at all. Not taking my steps as darkness turned to light, my routine upside down, took a toll on the importance of the morning to me and the way that I start my day. 

We shouldn't just reflect on the day when it is over, but as it's beginning, giving us perspective to make the most of what's ahead of us.