Monday, May 30, 2016

I'm 59 years old today,

And I have barely learned how to be 40. 

At 40 I was making my big move off the island to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. 

I had one restaurant behind me and two in front of me. Two chapbooks behind me, and ahead- two more chapbooks of full-length book of poetry and three books of memoir and fiction. 

I have lost a lot; my father, relationships, beloved dogs, health. I've gained a wife, new friends, more dogs.

Some things equal out. Others never can. But with loss, if you're lucky, comes knowledge. And the ability to more fully appreciate what you have, the will to hang on tightly to what is important.

I've been staring at this page from dark through just dawn to now the full light of early-morning, trying to shape my thoughts, trying to fit all my gratitudes into neatly contained sentences.

It's not going to happen. There's been too much good in my life in just the past two weeks to possibly fit on this page. Because if I've learned anything in these 59 years I've learned it's the little things, the day to day of a blooming fruit tree, an old friend reconnected with, the smell of honeysuckle on a walk with an old dog –

those thousands, millions of small moments that make up each day, each year, each life, that must be cherished. 

These moments, this now,  that I can so easily  let slip by in my push toward major achievements, events that may never even happen, or if they do, might not live up to my high expectations.

It's what I don't expect that can most thrill me, that flash of red caught from the corner of my eye, the unexpected scent of low tide carried on the wind, the sound of a long forgotten accent. All this, and then some.

Hey -

Happy birthday, world. Thank you for the flowers.