Birthday

by

Yes.

It was a day.

It was a day that I am still processing and it was full and wonderful and it started off a little on the lopsided side, but once I did a little writing and talked to my dearest friend on the phone, things, well, they perked right back up into birthday land.

I had a very mellow day.

Super grateful for friends who stopped by, texted, called, facebooked, etc.

Grateful I actually did something that I have thought about doing for years.

I mean years.

Sometimes it takes me a minute to be kind to myself.

To do what I want to do.

And despite feeling some discomfort at times, no one is going to show up!

It all passed and my dear, sweet friends did show up.

Not everyone who said they would, and one who said he wouldn’t–yet swung by in his cab to hug me and wish me well– but that is to be expected.  As I have had this experience before, the week before Christmas is a tough time to get anyone together for some birthday celebration.

I feel honored and loved to have had the company I had today and to know that so many people took time from their day to spend time with me on mine.

I loved getting out to the stables, no one else was out there.

Just three girls on an adventure, the hawks soaring in the wind above the canyons leading down to the ocean, and the hang gliders over our heads.

I felt like I was coming home in a very surreal sense of the word.

“Let me tell you something,” I said to my girlfriends as we were driving up to the stables, the air full of gliders, “I have a weird sort of connection to all of this,” I said gesturing the swooping hang gliders swirling in the air.

“My mom used to date the guy that invented and then patented the hang glider,” I said with a smile, suddenly remembering the smell of fiberglass in the warehouse in Oakland where Chuck did so much of his work.

I remember sitting in his Volkswagen Beetle while my mom smoked cigarettes in the shadow of the warehouse door in blue jean cutoffs and a white mens v-neck tshirt, the air always seemed to have glitter in it from the pieces of fiberglass that were drifting in the air.

Now, like a good little internet person I just Wikipedia hang gliders and of course they have been around much longer than when I was four years old, so Chuck must have patented something in regards to the flight of the glider.

Obviously.

But the romantic notion of is stays in my head.

The photograph of my mom on the beach running around a glider while my sister and I sat in the dunes.

The day I nearly talked them into letting me go up.

I was four, but apparently quite persuasive.

“Hey Carm,” my dear friend Joan said to me, “you know this is a much better idea then the trampoline one!”

I just about fell off my horse.

Of course!

One year I had decided to go trampolining at House of Air in the Presidio and Joan gamely came with me.

It was hard work.

“I like this kind of exercise,” Jennifer piped up, her horse nuzzling along behind mine on the trail, “anytime I can work out when I am sitting down is a bonus.”

I had to agree.

It was glorious too.

The God light falling through the thicket of grey clouds out over the sea, shafts of rich light bouncing off the grey waves.

Grey

Grey

Trails

Trails

Beach

Beach

Joan

Joan

Risk

At Your Own Risk

Joan trotting ahead of me, her posture so straight and her ease of being on the horse, made me by turns jealous and awed.

I had a horse that was sweet, Lily, and hungry, stopping frequently to snack on tress, shrubs, and sea grass, then stopping to, well do that thing we all do, poop, then heading off on her own, then running, whoa, where you going, lady.

I talked to her while admiring the gentle yet steady way Joan was sitting and I tried my best to emulate her riding style.

I lost my breath, the view, the hang gliders, the ocean surf, the wet sound of the waves slapping the beach, the only sound the roar of water and wind, I felt so open to where I was and happy to be sharing it with women who mean so much to me and my life.

Huge gifts.

After an hour, I will admit, I was ready to get off, the horse was eager too, and her gait picked up dramatically as soon as it was obvious that we were headed back.

“I want to gallop,” Joan the brave heart said with a grin.

Yeah, she was a natural-born equestrian.

“How do I do it?” She asked our sweet guide who stopped and took photos for us and twice recovered Iphones for us.

My bounced out of my pocket when Lilly decided that she wanted, out of the blue to run too.

Oh holy shit.

Relax, breathe, and follow the lead, bend the knees, lean forward, rise out of the saddle, which had warmed to my sit bones and I felt much more comfortable in then when we had started, let the horse carry you.

It’s not its first time at the rodeo.

Just mine.

I don’t know where the idea came from, some romantic fantasy that did not smell like horse stables and did not include a blustery grey day or a cold wind, did not include the stiffness of getting out of the saddle after being in it for an hour.

Nor the joy, the sweet simple joy of letting go, eventually I did surrender completely to the riding, trusting the horse to carry me.

It was a great gift.

As was the time I made to see my friends and they in turn, me.

A coconut at Trouble Coffee with Joan.

Then dinner with Jennifer and Joan at Thai Cottage–pumpkin curry, Tom Yum Gai soup, Pad Thai (not for me, but tasty to smell!), brown rice, chicken satay and then over to the house for tea.

And yes, we did have a fire in the back yard, surrounded by friends I have met from all walks of life, from 2900 24th Street to the mean streets of Aidslife Cycle training.

I still smell like wood smoke.

Tomorrow I get up early, go to work, go do the deal, then go housesit.

Thanking all those that showed up for me.

Realizing that I have to include myself in that equation.

It has been many years of work to gift myself the things that I like and the courage to explore what I may like or not like.

That in and of itself is a reason to celebrate.

Not just the birthday, but just that, the joy of being around people I love.

Heck, man, my awesome house mate and her family brought me down a plate of sweet oranges with candles for me to blow out.

No birthday cake for this lady.

But I still got to blow out candles.

I am loved.

Thank you to all my friends.

I love you so much.

You make my life rich beyond measure.

Thank you for the best birthday yet.

Next year let’s hang glide!

 

 

 

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