My life of late has been charmed and if at times I seem to taunt the less blessed please understand it is merely a tease. My journey to travel to this place of contentment and joy while not as epic nor heroic as my literary pals, the Tolkien hobbits, was no less fraught with twists, setbacks, galas and times of uncertainty for me.
Let it be a message of joy and triumph that there is a quintessential light at the end of the tunnel. I subscribe to the recurring theme in the poems of the romantic John Keats that there is a duality in life – a down in delight, a bittersweet in sadness. It is his words from Sleep and Poetry
“Stop and consider! Life is but a day;
A fragile dewdrop on its perilous way
From a trees summit”
that fuel my musings on this special day. I agree that my birthday is but a day; a delicate milestone on the path from the mountain’s peak.
Those who know me well know I will seize any opportunity to toast life’s simple pleasures. For those who are not quite so familiar with my approach does it help to point out that my husband and I even have an annual party – sometimes with only ourselves as guests – called the “Snow Going Off the Front Lawn Party”?
In view of that personal philosophy, I am not one of those people who say they never celebrate birthdays. Of course, I’m going to mark the occasion with some sort of celebration. Often it is a round of golf followed by dinner and in my fulltime working years, I almost always figured out a way to take the day off. This year it’s a bit different because Thursday our friend and neighbour, Ed, took Mark and I flying from the Penticton airport to Princeton and looping back. It was a gorgeous flight and an extraordinary gift to have such an expert pilot fly us over our house. Now we have seen our place through the eyes of the eagles, hawks and ravens who soar above us daily.
Ed Festel (right) takes my husband Mark (left) and I flying in his plane
Our home through the eyes of eagles, hawks and ravens
We also had our friend, Ron from Alberta, come out for the long weekend so we’ve been celebrating for the past few days. We golfed Friday at Sonora Dunes in Osoyoos, stopped in at Oliver’s Tinhorn Creek Vineyards for a tasting and self-guided tour, lunched on the deck of Twin Lakes Golf Club, joined the Growlers Club at Cannery Brewing, did another tasting at Poplar Grove Winery, feasted on homemade clam linguini and a variety of beverages, and spent some quality time exchanging news in the hot tub. Saturday was almost a “lather, rinse, repeat” except we golfed Penticton’s WOW Golf Club, took in the show and shine of classic cars in Peachland, lunched at the Blind Angler, came home to crack our Cannery Pale Ale growler while hitting a few balls off our home “executive” driving range, blended margaritas, watched Saturday Night Live and hit the hot tub again. Fortified this morning with a homemade breakfast of Belgian Waffles with Mixed Berries in Spiked Syrup, Ron headed home to Calgary.
Ron Volpi (left) and Mark at Sonora Dunes Golf (Osoyoos)
View from Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
Ron Volpi (left) and Mark at Peachland Show & Shine
Ron Volpi at “executive” driving range with Cannery Brewing Pale Ale Growler Yum!
I had a lovely birthday phone call from my brother Barry who had taken time out while some of his kids’ families visited for the New Denver May Day Celebration to wish me well. Facebook friends have been generous and gracious in best wishes.
So I’ve moved from the celebratory mode, after the obligatory stripping down the bed, washing sheets and towels, and preparing the guestroom for the next visitors, cleaning the kitchen and sprucing up the place, to the space for introspection.
I am appreciative for the life I have lived. My parents created a comfortable, safe and joyous environment. While making ends meet was often a struggle, our family life was rich in currency far more precious than money. Love permeated our every adventure and even our adolescent misadventures.
My husband is my soul mate and best friend although I must admit sometimes I take it for granted. Like any relationship there is the ebb and flow of emotions and while I routinely tell him that I love him, sometimes I forget to live it. My sister and brother and their wonderful spouses, children and now children’s spouses and grandchildren mean the world to me. We are child-free by choice yet enriched by family. We are also privileged to have such a wonderful extended family of relatives. Our felines, Baja and Floyd, brighten our days, warm our feet at night and offer us another perspective.
Our friends are the most amazing folks. So talented in such diverse ways. There are friends from my childhood, school and post-secondary days and career as well as pearls added more recently. Each friend cherished for his or her unique contribution to the symphony of relationships I truly savour. The sentimentality is sincere.
And so, I take Keats’ advice. Today, I “stop and consider” how fragile, and yes, how perpetual. Happy Birthday to me! Thank-you to each and everyone of my dewdrops for nourishing my life.