Another Birthday, Another Turn Around the Sun

My birthday.  Hmmm … The sun returned to the position it was in 66 years ago when a soul decided to drop into this body. That sounds amazing, doesn’t it? So why am I not amazed? Where’s the Yay! I’m alive! feeling?

Seriously, I’ve got very little to complain about. I’m healthy and whole. I have a lovely little place to live, mountain air to breathe, good whole food to eat. My friends are kind, caring, truth-and-purpose-seeking people. I live at the edge of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where people choose bicycles, independent film houses, and yoga studios. I can come across a horse tethered to a tree in a backyard, see chickens pecking and scrabbling for their supper, rabbits dashing across front yards, and the beginnings of squash, melons, and tomatoes sprouting amidst sunflowers and wild grasses in front yards. In summer, magnificent afternoon storms blow in on sudden fierce winds with drops in temperature that rain down large pebbles of hail and end in awe-inspiring double rainbows crowning the eastern sky.

20150531_102241It’s a place where local artists are invited to paint sunsets and flowers and peace signs on the utility boxes and design whimsical murals on the sides of buildings.  People put out signs that say No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor in English, Spanish, and Arabic. Others hang banners quoting Thomas Jefferson: When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.

Maybe life isn’t a yay! just now. Maybe it’s a quieter absorbing and then giving back that which is good, kind, lovely.

The city hangs baskets of flowers in the alleys and in pedestrian spaces where kids and dogs and grownups gather to run through fountains, listen to music, and lick ice-cream cones. On clear, Colorado evenings and cool summer mornings, I stop to admire the pianos that stand outside the library, the Food Co-op, and in Old Town Square, each a work of art painted by local artists and free for all to use. I talk to the artists as they paint and get a free lesson on a piano from a young musician. I poke through books in free library boxes (also built and painted with care) that neighbors erect on their front lawns and other neighbors fill with free-to-take-free-to-give books.


There are free concerts and movies in the square all summer. There are open-gallery-walks and an endless offering of story-telling events, art and comedy shows, and good local theater. Last summer, duos and trios of performing musicians and singers tickled my heart as they were slowly carted through town by self-styled three-wheelers. Horses clop under my windows as they take lovers on romantic carriage rides through the old neighborhoods. One of the breweries hosts parties of eight to twelve people who sit together at an open-air table and peddle themselves from one micro-brewery to another on an eccentric vehicle that only moves as fast and as far as its consumers can peddle.  In the pedestrian square, people show up in REI-sports wear, yoga getups, and cowboy boots with short-shorts. Baseball caps and cowboy hats jog along side by side. Young people glide by on skateboards, while the older crowd shows up on recumbent bikes. I see dogs ferried behind bicycles in baby carriers as often as babies. Jugglers, tightrope walkers, and hula-hoop dancers show off in the parks.

People are friendly. Dogs are friendly. Cats sidle up to me for a rub and a purr. Rabbits sit still, poised to dart away but don’t feel the need. It’s a friendly, creative, spirited place that feels like home to me.

20180610_194112.jpgSo, I’m not complaining. In fact, writing this has me praising, complimenting, feeling grateful. Maybe life isn’t a yay! just now. Maybe it’s a quieter absorbing and then giving back that which is good, kind, lovely.  And maybe, considering the state of the world in 2018, looking for yay! is even a bit absurd. Harvey, the little dog I dog-sit for, is currently hiding under the bed because it thundered earlier in the day and he’s still not trusting to come out. When I talk with my friends or myself about the craziness and sorrows of our world, when I feel overwhelmed by one negative news cycle after another, I hear myself say, Well, but what are you going to do? Hide under the bed? Harvey says, Yep!

Thankfully, under-the-bed doesn’t appeal to me. So, I’ll get up from this table, put on my walking shoes, and head out to see what I can see. And while I’m out there, I’ll continue to ask myself if I know who I am, who I’m becoming, how I want to live into yet another new year, and how I can gently continue to open to the life and the love that this soul dropped into this body to experience.

10 thoughts on “Another Birthday, Another Turn Around the Sun

  1. love this entry, Joan! You describe Fort Collins so well that I want to share your description with all my relatives in other places! I celebrate being on the planet, in this beautiful place, with you. Love.


  2. You are part of what makes this place feel like home to my heart. And thank you for hearing my need for response 🙂 Love.


  3. Dear Joan Just a wee personal note to thank you for keeping in touch. I’ve been tied up with Mya …we are batching while Lydia visits folks in China. What a well written piece. Excellent. Descriptive and with heart. I’d so love to visit and see for myself. You sound relaxed and have a nice philosophical lilt to your lyrics….a sweet song it’s been a delight to share . Love from us all and belated greetings for your birthday. Do keep in touch . Glenn 😇x

    Sent from my iPhone



    1. Glenn. It’s always so good to hear from you. A breeze of friendship and care blowing across the miles, across the planet. Being solo parent to a young teen, especially one as precocious, gifted, and talented as yours would definitely require your time and energy. You are all so fortunate to have each other. Thank you for your kind words and care. Isn’t your birthday sometime soon, as well? Love.


  4. What an enchanting description! I never knew FC was such a magical place…for all your seeking over our beauitful planet, it sounds like you’ve definitely found home. Happy Birthday my friend and may your quiet appreciation continue to unfold in whatever way it can.


  5. This is clearly a case of seeking and then seeing beauty. I walk the places where I’m most apt to find it. Photograph the scenes that most tickle my heart. There’s plenty here that irks, plenty of suburban soul-lessness. But I am slowly learning to look for what soothes and nurtures and delights. My camera helps to focus my lens — literally and metaphorically. It is good. Love to you and thanks for hearing my cry for response.


  6. On a day in June, somewhere near the 6th in 1952, my Father took me to an amusement park across the street from the hospital where my Mother gave birth to my little sister. I can remember her waving to me out her window. The next day we drove to pick up my Mother and this new package. At first the idea seemed fine, but shortly thereafter my life as the Prince now had competition. Our early childhood has plenty of good memories, from our building a tent in my bedroom, to playing games that would always seem to wake up Mom, and we were then subject to the light green hair brush. I remember trips with them to Washington and meeting Mimi and Al on the Capitol steps by accident. I remember our Camp Saskatuon days, our vacations at Watch Rock Lodge, our regular visits to Nunley’s, our way to early dinners on Sunday’s with Nana and Papa, and on and on.
    As we grew into late teens and beyond we sort of lost the connection.
    I’m happy to say that I feel connected now more than in many years and that makes me happy.
    You should celebrate your birthday and many more down the road.


  7. Yes, it is truly good and special to have re-found and reconnected with you. Still living in very different worlds, and yet, being more open, tolerant, and curious about crossing the divide; it is good to be a sister, to have a big brother and a friend. Love.


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