I bless this day in the fullness of good it already contains, in the many occasions it offers to listen deeply, to be of service to others, to express gratitude moment by moment and to keep my mind so filled with love, beauty and joy that no negativity can find even the tiniest crack in which to set foot.
I bless this day in the infinite opportunities it gives me to love: to love and bless every human I meet, every beast or bird I pass by, every plant I behold, for all are but the manifold expressions of the infinite Life that undergirds all.
Truly, I bless this day for the wonderful adventure it can become as I walk through it with the eyes of wonder rather than boredom, use every opportunity to express peace rather than irritation, and choose love over fear.
Thank you, Life, for this day.
~ Pierre Pradervand, 365 Blessings to Heal Myself and the World
I woke up super excited this morning. Sure, it’s my birthday. But it wasn’t that, not exactly. I do sort of still get excited about birthdays. I’m not sure why. My inner child pokes her head out on birthdays and wants to play. It’s not about parties or presents. There is just something that feels playful about birthdays, even if I have had 62 of them. Every single one of them, just like every single day, is new and different and provides new delights.
It wasn’t the snow, not at first. When I woke up, it was gray and gloomy. One of our local weathermen last week said we had a very slim chance of snow today, but I had forgotten about that until I was standing in the kitchen making my breakfast and I saw the first few flakes start to fall. It’s been a mostly light snow with an occasional heavy flurry. Not enough to accumulate or stick. But it was just enough to brighten up my day because, as we all know, snow is one of my favorite things. To have snow on my birthday is one of the Best Birthday Presents Ever. I put breakfast aside, put on my winter coat, gloves, and hat, and went out for a walk. There is something about snow that makes me feel decades younger. I notice it in how I walk. Lighter, younger, more playful. I love the smell and feel and taste of snow that hits my senses as soon as I step out the door.
A big part of the excitement was that Julie Gibbons’ Mandala Magic: Alignment 2020/2021 starts today. I have been wanting to take her course for the past five years and now that I’ve finally signed up, I can hardly wait to get started. And now, I don’t have to wait. It has started. Yay! I watched the first video and am looking forward to moving my way through the introductory stuff.
In honor of my birthday, I bring you… Wild horses! On the beach! Okay, that’s enough with the exclamation points. I am not usually so generous with them. I have a laid-back kind of enthusiasm that doesn’t physically, in life, movement, or speech, translate into exclamation points except when I’m with my grandchildren, particularly my grandsons who are young enough to appreciate some wild and childlike enthusiasm that throws exclamation points all over everything.
I have no big plans for today. Under normal circumstances, we might go out for dinner to celebrate. I’ve been fond of an Italian restaurant in Berlin which is near Assateague Island so the dinner trip would include a trip out to the island to see the horses and to hike around for a little while. It’s a good way to work off dinner prior to eating it. But we don’t always go, at least not on the actual date of my birthday. We don’t rely on the dates themselves to celebrate anything. Our anniversary, for example, often passes by for a month or two before we get around to going out to celebrate. That’s okay. It means we celebrate more than once. A small celebration at home (or wherever we happen to be) followed by a bigger celebration later.
As much as I love snow, M is not quite so fond of it or the cold. We won’t be going to the beach today. The snow is supposed to turn to rain, and the combination of rain and cold is miserable. We’ll have sun and warmer temperatures later in the week, making it a better time to hike around on the beach and in the backcountry. As for eating out, that’s not on the table (literally) for now. I’m not sure when I’ll feel comfortable in a restaurant or anywhere indoors with strangers. It’s a wait and see situation, isn’t it?
Today’s dinner (which is really lunch because we eat our biggest meal in the middle of the day) will be, at my request, a vegetarian jambalaya. It’s one of my favorite dishes. After a week of eating Thanksgiving turkey, I’m ready to go back to a mostly vegetarian diet. I was going to add that I don’t know what possessed me to buy and cook a turkey, but I do know. I think it’s quite similar to the way people I know are going all out with Christmas and Solstice decorations this year. It’s an attempt to bring joy to the holidays, in whatever ways we can. Sometimes that joy comes from tradition. Turkey on Thanksgiving certainly is an old tradition. Our newer tradition, when we celebrated more of a Friendsgiving, was vegetarian (one year I made a Chicago-style deep dish veggie pizza and another year I made the jambalaya mentioned earlier).
Because Eliza asked (thank you!), I looked up some information about when the wild horses usually foal. In November the park biologists follow the female horses around in order to collect samples (feces) to send to a lab to determine who is and isn’t pregnant. Usually the babies are born in the spring, but it’s not unusual to have a surprise or two at other times of the year. In 2019 there was a foal born in January.
The mares carry their foals for about 11 months (320-370 days). Their natural breeding season is in the spring and early summer, but some will come into season (heat) during the winter months. The park service does have a birth control program to control the size of the Maryland herd. That is pretty much the only intervention on the Maryland side of the island. Otherwise, the horses are left to live their wild and precious lives, to borrow from Mary Oliver. The 2020 census, done in March, indicated there were 73 horses currently in the Maryland herd. That seems low to me. There were 82 in 2019.
In case you’re wondering why I refer to them as the Maryland herd, Assateague Island is split between Maryland and Virginia. The Virginia herd, the Chincoteague herd, is owned and cared for by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, and are kept in grazing compartments. They are also periodically checked by a veterinarian. Every year they round up the Virginia horses, swim them from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island, and auction off the young foals as their big fundraising event of the year. People tend to be more familiar with (or at least heard of) the horses of Chincoteague because of the Misty [of Chincoteague] books.
I reckon that’s enough from me for this Monday meander. I have no idea whether or not it will clear up for sunset, but let’s take our chances and meet out at the Point. Sunset is scheduled for 4:43 PM. The clouds, if they thin out a bit, might bring us a spectacular show. Mother Nature often works that way, bringing us intense colors in the sunrises and sunsets during the late autumn and winter months. Bundle up. It’s cold outside.
Please be safe, be well, and be kind. ♥
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,636) Seeing the horses again as I sort through the photos from our November hike. 1,637) Snow!!!! 1,638) A long walk this morning, enjoying the snow as it flurried around. 1,639) You. Thank you for visiting with me. I always appreciate your company. 1,640) The Mandala Magic course, and Julie Gibbons for putting it all together. It looks as though she has put a great deal of work and thought into it, from what I’ve seen so far.