Monday, August 25, 2014


An eclectic group of good friends and family, zesty food, pleasant late summer weather, spectacular natural ambience framed by towering red rocks and lush green meadows, a group hike, lots of love:  this was my 40th birthday party this weekend. Thanks to my wonderful wife for planning and pulling it off.  Without a doubt one of the best nights of my life.

When it was time to wrap up, friends stayed behind to take down chairs and tables, carry coolers, and load up my truck.  A neighbor took the kids home, and since we drove separately, Elizabeth hopped in her car to head out.  I told her that I was going to check the picnic area one last time in case we'd left something, and I'd meet her at home.  She smiled.  She knew what I was really up to.

"Just going to think for a while?" she asked.

"Yeah. Think I'll meditate up here tonight."

"Okay," she said, "Did you have fun?"

"Are you kidding me? This was the best. I can't thank you enough."

She smiled her radiant smile, which still melts me these fifteen years later. A kiss, and she pulled out of the parking lot, headlights piercing twilight.

Now I was alone in this gorgeous park in the Colorado foothills, only five minutes from my home. The last rays of sunlight were slipping behind the mountains. I made my way up the short slope one more time, calves burning from a long run that morning. I sat on the terraced steps just below the upper pavilion that overlooks the valley. Soft breeze, bats fluttering in and out of the rocks, harmonic resonance humming in the chest, a tranquility of soul. Memories of kids and dogs, rattlesnakes, thunderstorms and rainbows. I wrote a third of a novel at this very spot. I still jog through here often in the early mornings.

At the big 4-0, I'm glad I have a place like this, a physical locale imprinted on my mind. It feels--resonates--like home. I have a half dozen sacred places, all in Colorado and Arizona: Iron Springs, Beaver Mesa, Keystone, the backyard of our current home, my super secret Fortress of Solitude, which is known to no man but which infuses me with my superpowers.  And here.

Clouds igniting like lava, paling to peach, then gray. Violet sky dimming to the color of . . . what?  Blackberries. Sunlight's final strokes silhouetting pines on the crest of the foothills. Breathe in, breathe out.

My planned post for today was going to be about the rough structure of my self-imposed program for this year. But it will wait. Today, I feel and express gratitude to the Universe for forty years of life, for this sublime moment amongst so many others, for consciousness, for joy. For friends and family. For this frame of earth, the space and time in which to experience it. For pain, for suffering, for fear. For cancer and disillusionment. And for peace amidst the storm. It all comes bundled. I'm ecstatic and humbled to be alive at this moment. It won't last forever. I'm okay with that. Now is forever.

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