Tuesday, October 16, 2012



This is what 41 looks like.

Not for everyone, but for me.

It's odd to think that I've now, as a friend pointed out, had two birthdays in Colorado.

And I've never been so glad to be in a place in my life.

Both geographically and spiritually.

I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life.

Both physically and emotionally.

The celebrating started over a week ago, when my dad, who's always elk hunting on my birthday, took me to a jazz concert at Stargazers.

Heaven, that was.
Live music? Yes please.
It really doesn't matter what kind, but there is just something about jazz...

I heard from my brother a few minutes ago, and he and my dad both got an elk this year. That's birthday gift enough for me, although my brother was kind enough to send a card, too. With a penny in it. That was his way of responding to my request for him to "just send cash."

My mom's birthday was a few days ago, so my boys and I went and spent some time with her over the weekend.

My boys, of course, had surprises for me.
The best from the elder - a note in my lunch today (he made lunches last night) that said, "Have a good day!" It was a totally spontaneous act of love. The best kind.
And from the younger - a handmade "Big hug."

When I commented on its large size he responded, "Of course it's huge. It was a big project."

And then my friend Kim Myles, interior designer extraordinaire, posted a picture of my dresser on Facebook today. 

A few of my students brought me gifts today. A bouquet (um, the colors! Love!) and - oh happy day - an apple. Many of them were stunned when I told them my age. I don't know why...when I was their age 40 seemed ancient. One girl asked me what kind of lotion I used so she could go buy some. She's ten! Haha!

And of course there have been more phone calls and texts and Facebook messages than I think I can handle! My mom gave me some $ (an obscene amount, really) and even my favorite aunt stuck a $20 in the card she sent me, which I think is hilarious but just might be the reason she's my favorite aunt. *wink*

Last year on my birthday I had just arrived in Colorado.
Had just made tremendous changes in my life.
I went for a 6 mile hike, solo, because it was exactly what I wanted to do and there was no one to stop me. And I had a wonderful time.
This year, however, I'm feeling quite the opposite, so I'm celebrating with friends.
Next Saturday a slew of old friends, mostly from the "school" walk of life, will celebrate with me.
A high school English teacher.
A friend from 8th grade.
A girlfriend I grew up with (who I have a picture of at my 9th (or so) birthday party).
Two college roommates. We all went to school in Minnesota together. One is from CO but has been in Minnesota for the last 20ish years and moved back a few months ago; the other is from Minnesota but moved out here after college. She's spent the last 5 years in Brazil, and also just moved back a few months ago.
We won't do much. Just dinner and drinks. And hopefully more laughter than we'll know what to do with.

So the party will continue long after today.

I cannot end this post without letting the world know what the card said that my mom bought me. I love it.

"Even before she arrives, you want your daughter's world to be perfect.
You want her to be happy and surrounded by love.
You want her to be sure of herself, gentle but strong, with nothing to worry about.
But real life's not like that.
The years come and go, bringing her trials and triumphs, joys and sorrows.
And you still want her world to be perfect.
But you can see that she is sure of herself, surrounded by love, and gentle but strong.
And you can see that she is who she is
because life has challenged her to grow and become more amazing every year."

Thanks, Mom. It's true.

Life's a party. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

To Envy the Trees

I spent last Saturday in bed. For hours. I caught the worst bug ever but kept working and was paying for it by the weekend. I didn't sleep much, but I was too tired and unmotivated to do anything but lay there. However, something pleasant that happened a few days before was keeping me company, so it wasn't completely useless; rather more like a whole day in a bed of eider-down thoughts.

On Sunday, rested up and having sickness-induced cabin fever, I had to get out. The trees are turning so rapidly and soon all the color will be gone. It will fall from the trees like day-after holiday decorations and lay on the ground like a carpet slowly fading in the sun. I needed to get to it before that happened.

The colors of Autumn. Why do we drive to them and walk among them like this season will never happen again? It happens every year.

Because they are dying, perhaps? 

I don't think so.

They may be shedding, but they are not dying. Those trees are as alive as they ever were, though from all outward appearances, they are losing touch with us. It is only for a time. Sometimes the ushering in of the beauty of life necessitates an appearance of death first.

The trees are dropping the old, and wouldn't we all like to be able to do that so easily? Let our problems, and those character traits we want to see diminish to make more room for the favorable ones, flutter to the ground like last year's leaves so the new can spring forth unhindered.

They are preparing for hibernation. Except instead of wrapping themselves in a blanket of warmth, they throw off their covers and become vulnerable in the coldest of months. A display of fortitude to be coveted.

And let's be honest. Don't we sometimes wish we could hibernate for a few months? 

And are they not just a bit like we are, those leaves that flutter to the ground? Some a bit stubborn, perhaps?

There are millions of them...


Yet not one quite like another.


No, I think it is not to bid them farewell that we flock to them as birds flying south.

Perhaps we go because we envy them, without even knowing.

Friday, October 5, 2012


It has happened now twice
in the past month. And these run-ins seem to
have, in their plan for me, nothing concise.
Rather, I have been stunned into review
of what I want in life.

I’m not unfamiliar
with how contemplation works. It is a
large, empty room. Those who knock can be sure
of no certain answer, only delay.
Decision is a blur.

To think the answers will
come to me if I sit in silence long
enough is to forget that the standstill
is self-inflicted. Because all along
life is ours to fulfill.

The answer is not “out
there” in a nebulous realm waiting for
us to call for it. It is not without
but within, although often we ignore
its silent, subtle shout.

But now that I have seen
the path which has emerged in front of me
I must take it, though most is still unseen.
The bar has been raised so high I can’t see
it, but oh! how it gleams,

Enticing me upward.
So the climb to reach it has begun. No
longer content with just going forward
upward must also be the way...but no,
The direction preferred.

I know there will be tears.
Not just mine, though my eyesight will be blurred.
But I cannot let them distract like mirrors
because inaction doused in pretty words
Will only keep me here.