Like Dylan Thomas, I rose on my birthday morning, walked a trail along the hills above Ojai, and sat looking over this valley full of memories. 69 is a momentous birthday, along with 19, 29, 39, etc. At 19, it dawns on us that we are at the end of our teenage years. At 29, we are about to become one of those people who may no longer be trusted. At 39 you are coming up on that “Oh, shit, my life is half over” feeling. But at 69, you are pretty much looking at the final chapters. I don’t mean to be morbid, but at 69 one’s race is run, or seemingly so. Unless you are Beatrice Wood or perhaps George Burns, you have made your contribution, the pressure is off. I am not saying that I expect to keel over any time soon. I think that I still have some good mileage left in me. Most of the parts are in working order, give or take a few million brain cells. Yet, I sat on the mountain this morning in gratitude….for the love and companionship I am given, for my children and now my precious grandchild, for my many friends, both new and old, and for this remarkable valley where I came nearly 40 years ago and have never been tempted to leave. In the distance I could see the land where I helped build a school. Off to my right I see the school where Meredy is now working as I, her loving partner, laze around in the hills. Below me is our home, mostly hidden by trees. It all fills my heart. I am grateful today and feeling blessed. Thus I headed back down the trail to unpack camping gear, do a bit of yard work, and get on with the process of farting around every day. I am 69; I can do that.
Oh, yes, and as Dylan would say “May my heart’s song still be sung on this high hill in a year’s turning.”