A few blogs ago, I wrote about the emotional freight of time, and today brings that issue back again because it is my husband’s 60th birthday. He was born on the cusp of the ancient summer quarter, so this day has marked a special transition in the year for me ever since I met him. This year we will have known one another 30 years and have been married for 29.
It has been a privilege to share so much of someone else’s life: to celebrate births (our daughter’s, our nieces’, babies born into the congregations we have served together and separately, and the baby we delivered together as EMTs) and grieve deaths (my mother’s at 58 on May 2nd — another Beltane cusp event — 27 years ago, his mother’s and his father’s, the death of friends, the death of a SIDS baby which was my first call as an EMT, and the death of parishioners at the end of long, full lives). We have learned to travel together – which was and is trickier than it sounds. My most cherished photos include one of him sitting in my hospital room holding our daughter when she was 18 hours old, and then span the years until the one of him standing beside her the day she married. We have faced cancer, the long recovery when he was hit by a truck while commuting on his bicycle, unexpected surgeries, and broken bones. We have worked together like a well-oiled machine and we have limped through months when we seemed to be in two different universes. I have been so incandescent with rage at him that I thought I would spontaneously combust, and he has made me laugh so hard that I couldn’t catch my breath. Probably a pretty normal marriage, all things considered.
But shortly after his birthday each year, his emotions flatten and quiet into a still loneliness. May 19th marks his sister’s death in a climbing accident. This year, it marks the 30th anniversary of that death. George is the youngest of five siblings and Beth was the next oldest. This year, he began to prepare for the sadness of that day by wondering quietly about the nieces and nephews who were never born, and about what work Beth might have done in the world that has never happened.
Sometimes I ride the ups and downs of this month with grace, and other years feel like a tsunami washing over me. This year I am profoundly aware of how unaware I am of time, most of the time. This year, for some reason, I realized that anniversaries (of weddings, births, death, graduations, accidents, holidays) are so precious to me because they catch my attention and wake me up. This is, in part, one of my mother’s legacies because during her too brief life she made every one of those events special…and created new and temporary celebrations if it had been too long since the last one!
But what about the normal days? What about the non-birthdays, non-holidays, non-anniversaries? Why is it that I live through a single wonderous 24 hours without noticing it as more than “another day”? What could possibly be more astonishing than opening my eyes to a sunrise over the Rockies, than being aware I am taking a breath, than rolling over in bed and having my body respond – even with cracks and creaks and clunks, than drinking a first cup of tea or coffee, spreading almond butter on a piece of toast, watching my fingers type a blog or sew 50 minuscule beads on a fiber piece? What could possibly be more invigorating than a walk in the wind, stretching through a yoga set, making love, pounding through an airport at full run to see our daughter and son-in-law for 15 minutes between planes?
How much miracle is enough for me to pay attention and feel over-whelming gratitude?
© 2014, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
And please note that on May 1, the seasons switched on the website and in the Etsy shop (from Imbolc to Beltane). New pictures went up in the slider, and new items are now featured for sale. Drop by and check them out.