Sunday, November 27, 2016

Happy birthday (really)

Thanksgiving is just past, and tomorrow is my birthday. Seems like a good moment to survey a few random blessings, large and small:

In (almost) 55 years on the planet, I've never known a single day of genuine want — never spent a night sleeping on the street or been denied anything I really needed because I couldn't pay for it. This alone strikes me as a miracle of good fortune.

After a long history of holiday gatherings marred by political disagreements, this year the Browning kids, conservative and liberal alike, were united in our complete disdain for the president-elect. I love my brothers. (Thanks, little Donnie — you racist, woman-hating, egomaniacal con artist — for bringing my family together. At least you're good for something.)

I own a totally awesome dog because some stupid people threw him away. Luck can sneak up on you when you least expect it.

I had to say goodbye to two beloved dogs, Nio and Porter, in the past year, but thanks to a good vet and the money to pay for his services, I was able to give both of them long lives and easy deaths. Can't ask for more than that.

I have an amazing collection of lively, kind, talented, thoughtful friends. Sometimes I can hardly believe the array of lovely people I'm lucky enough to have in my life.

I own more books than I will ever read and more perfume than I will ever wear. Somehow this never ceases to thrill me.

I have my share of gripes and disappointments, but fundamentally I love my life. Just as it is, I love it. I'm at peace with the past and welcome whatever comes. Today is sufficient.

I have sailed the River of Yellow Flowers, 
Borne by the channel of a green stream, 
Rounding ten thousand turns through the mountains 
On a journey of less than thirty miles.... 
Rapids hum over heaped rocks; 
But where light grows dim in the thick pines, 
The surface of an inlet sways with nut-horns 
And weeds are lush along the banks. 
...Down in my heart I have always been as pure 
As this limpid water is.... 
Oh, to remain on a broad flat rock 
And to cast a fishing-line forever!

~ "A Green Stream" by Wang Wei
translated by Witter Bynner

A Player with a Hermit, Moritz von Schwind, c.1846


Julie H. Rose said...

What a gift -loving your life! I do, too. Happy and happiest of birthdays to you, dear Maria!

Shylotus said...

And it's a gift to know you, Maria. Happy birthday.

ScentScelf said...

The small blessings are actually enormous.

It sounds like a year well-lived, and the precipice of another about to begin. Happy birthday, Maria.

BitterGrace said...

Thank you, friends. You're the best.