26 January 2011

Birthday Reflections

Oropendula, black birds with neon yellow tails and beaks, swish in and out of the immortelle tree in the yard. The tree's bright orange flowers seem more vivid against morning's blue sky. The oripendula have a distinctive deep, clucking sound unlike the chirps and trills of the other birds in the surrounding trees. When they fly off three or four at a time, their beating wings sound like softened helicopter whirls.

The sun is out and illuminates the wide, light green blades around the sugar cane growing next to the outside kitchen where I sit at the picnic table and write. Clouds and some of the left over morning mist gather at the top of the densely forested hills to my right. They cast shadows adjacent to the sunny patches making a quilt of light and dark on the ridge.The water tank to my left sprouts a mossy growth on its otherwise stark cement base. I drink sorrel punch made from the red sorrel flower. It's magical to me to drink flowers like some giant bee.

The birds have flown now, driven to cooler shaded spots by the tropical sun. Their songs are replaced by a flock of wild parrots flying oerhead with their harsh, remarkably loud cries. Have they no predators that they can be so loud and colorful?

Today is my birthday. I'm 65. It feels like a momentous age. Unlike the creatures around me, I'm aware of this life stage shift and I take stock of where I am and where I'm going. For years I've kept a self-discovery art journal inspired by my good friend, Annee. I take a few blank pages of this journal and pick out whatever magazine pictures or words that catch my eye and put them in a current moment snapshot collage. Or as Annee would say, whatever calls to me. I do this two or three times a year to visually represent what's up for me. It's always a meaningful process for me and I love to review these pages and see how they portend or document personal shifts and changes in my life. After my quiet time today, I did one and then arranged it on the picnic table in the outside kitchen since I don't have my journal with me. I like doing this. I'm not an artist but this fulfills my yearning to find other ways into myself through art.

The clouds on the hill have spilled down to me. I can hear the rain in the distance as it moves closer. In minutes the day has gone from blue, sunny skies to pouring down, drenching rain. The sound went from lovely to deafening as it pounds the corregated metal roof that keeps me dry. Minutes later, the sky clears and the sun reappears as if the rain never happened.

This peaceful day has taught me once again to show up, pay close attention and tell my truth. I trust all answers for this life stage will emerge from this.


  1. I'm glad you did share this, photos or not. And Happy Birthday! It's a big one, for sure. I am now 68, but I still remember that momentous day when I turned 65. Another phase of life, symbolically represented with that number.

    You are so fortunate to have such beauty surrounding you while we in the continental US are experiencing winter in all its different scenarios. None that compare to your beautiful word picture!

    I sometimes find with blogger if I can't download pictures I can always try going to another browser and sometimes that works.

  2. Happy Birthday, Sweet and Lovely Lady. And Welcome. You have reached a plateau. We who already live here hope you find it as surprising as we do. There is vigor. And hope. And dreams. There is a desire to get out and DO things - and there is, still, the physical ability to go out and do them.

    We hope you like it here. We will enjoy having you here, with us.

    Or, at least, I will.

    And you DO know that 65 is the new 50, right?

  3. This post needed no picture. Birthday blessings.

  4. Buon compleanno my beloved! Your writing is as beautiful and inspired as you are!
    Love and many blessings on the anniversary of your birth!

  5. Very poetic... the boys and I were trying to describe Oropendola noises to our friends here and we just couldn't! You've done a much better job :) Happy, happy birthday, you are an inspiration.

  6. Happy, happy birthday! Tomorrow is mine! I will celebrate my sixtyninth! I started blogging at sixty five, hence the name of my blog, a momentous decision at a special moment in time. You and I under the same sign? Who knew!

  7. Happy Birthday....
    Just a number....Life just seems to get better, uh?
    Thanks for sharing yours!

  8. Happy birthday on reaching a milestone. Last year I turned 65, so I am one year ahead of you, but I think you are way ahead of me in expressing the importance of living well the years that are left.

    I really enjoyed reading about your "journal" that you have kept. I hope you can up load these photos later. It sounds like a very fascinating project.

  9. Happy Birthday! You are a great role model for those of us who are in this decade of life.

  10. Dearest Mary,

    I hope your receive this. I am so baffled by these new communication options! Your birthday writing was so lovely! I know we are a day late but still we send you all love and blessings. I am hoping we can talk while you are in the US. Love to all there and a special hug for you - a special person in our lives. Happy Birthday and many many more - some of which we hope to share.
    We love you dearly, Cindy & Bob

  11. DJan, It does feel like a different life phase to me. Thanks for the downloading advice.
    Lou, Thanks for your sweet words. You paint a lovely picture of this phase. I may take as my mantra: "prepare to be surprised". May it be so, or rather make it so!
    Lauren, Thank you.
    John, My beloved. I'm soaking in all the love.
    Nan, It was hard to think of a way to describe that unique sound. Thanks for the well wishes and hugs to you and the boys.
    Rosaria, Happy Birthday to you, too!
    Nanny, It really does get better and better! Lou described it well.
    Retired English Teacher, Welcome and thanks for visiting my blog. It is a fascinating journey!
    Blissed Grandma, Well thank you. The 60's have been a blast so far!
    Cindy, See, you did it! Baffled no longer. Thank you, Dear One, for the love and blessings. We'll talk while I'm in FL- I leave on the 6th.

  12. Happy birthday, Mary. I join Lou in welcoming you to our neighborhood. Live is good here and the neighbors are wonderful. And were you here in the US, Uncle Sam would send you a red, white and blue birthday card.


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