I’ve noticed a few new wrinkles. Some grey hair creeping into my long locks. A bit slower to get out of a low car. Greater appreciation for what my parents did for me. The need to bring family closer, make new memories, and let some old ones float away.
The smarter I think I get, the more foolish the mistakes I make. Realization is hard work, involving letting go of stubborn flaws and embracing what truly could be. Seeing my children becoming adults in their own right, I hope what I’ve taught them is valuable enough to help them through their own struggles.
The past year, I’ve started writing again. Fourteen months ago, the writing tools were quite rusty. I’ve oiled and used them a lot more this year than I have in 33 years. It’s simply wonderful to be doing this again, even when I’m just rambling. My book looks different now, and it is quite possible the new tools I’ve learned will help me finish it. Just by writing again, I’ve welcomed other writers into my sphere, and they’ve encouraged me to continue.
A few weeks ago, my beloved and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. We marveled over how fast time has slipped by. I love looking into her eyes… I still can wander in and get lost in the peace of her soul. We’ve grown up together, even though 13 years separate us. She’s much wiser and deliberate than this impulsive guy. No matter how many times we’ve fallen, we’ve always stood up as one. We feed off each other’s energy. That sounds cliché, but it’s hard to describe otherwise. There are more decades for us to climb, but our grip is stronger now.
To celebrate this annual event, my oldest son accompanied me deep into the Oregon forest for two days. Our annual father-son camping trip. We found the perfect spot 50 yards off the road, right next to a rowdy river, shaded by immense old-growth pines. There was no wind, rain, mosquitoes or critters. No cell phone service. Just us. Entrenched, relaxed, and at peace. We love to sit and poke the fire, seeing how furiously large we can build it. We sip whiskey, mix in a few beers. He smokes, I vape. We talk, late into the night. Father and son stuff, some intensely personal. We’ve moved beyond the intensely rebellious teenage years and into what treasures we look forward to. It’s something we plan to do many years hence, a tradition he plans to continue when he becomes a father.
Now I’m home, and it’s over. Next time, I’ll be 55 on 10/5/15. All numbers divisible by my favorite. Another milestone to achieve, a day to look forward to. My book will be finished by then. Perhaps it will sell, maybe not. But to bring it to conclusion is my goal. I owe it to the characters to complete their purpose.
So that’s it. It was, as they go, a “happy” birthday. I’m a lucky guy.