Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The days have passed and the summer is warm. The splendor of the lightning bugs and swooping bats has risen to its peak and every night I stand in the moonlight I feel a sense of rebirth. Ahhh and so begins another annual event, the birthday celebrations. Years have come and gone and each summer my odometer clicks onto a new number forever eclipsing and leaving behind the predecessor. As a mantis sheds its exoskeleton so too do I attempt to shed the layers and traits of my life that have worn out their usefulness.

And as I sit on the perch of the looming “39” I am struck with a sense of wonder and delight as I gaze back to some of the past moments that inevitably make the yearly ‘highlight reel.’ For you tonight I include some of them here. They mean nothing individually, less even. But these are the threads that woven into the quilt of my existence to this point stand out and catch my eye every time I glance backwards long enough to trace the steps that led me to where I stand now. I hope you enjoy them as surely therein will lie something that may spur a memory in your own collections of yarns.

1.) The time when I was 4 or 5 and watched as horses and riders rode by me for the first time. I felt the ground shake a bit and I know that my world changed as those hooves passed before me. Cockeysville, MD

2.) Watching “Wild Bill Hickock” at an O’s game on my 12th bday, up close. Memorial Stadium, 1983

3.) The time when I was fishing off a dock and caught a 4’ long eel, when I was deathly afraid of snakes. Harwich Port, MA 1983

4.) Sitting in a plastic sled, in our backyard stream trying to canoe with a shovel from my beach pail. And dad telling me to never be afraid to keep trying, even if you fail. Cockeysville, MD 1976 (Side note, that sled was buried into the silt of the stream, I wasn’t going anywhere!)

5.) Cantering a horse for the first time and having the mare lose her footing and go down with me onto her side. And jumping back up, hoping on the horse and doing it right. Jacksonville, MD 1982

6.) Watching my grandfather swim off Cape Cod, every day, every summer.

7.) Getting the trademark Nana hug and hearing her make this sound that I have yet to hear any of us be able to mimic exactly since her passing.

8.) Playing miniature golf, Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders and baseball with my family when we still were intact.

9.) Trying to return my sister to the house after she fell off her bike….with a wheelbarrow….when she had a spiral fracture of the femur. That didn’t work at all. Towson, 1986

10.) Standing in Grampa’s workshop looking at a block of wood, and then next to it a complete set of models of old ships, sailboats, river boats and the like and knowing that the vessels around me had only a destiny to be a piece of wood until he came along. West Boylston, Ma 1980’s

11.) Seeing and playing with Gramma’s worry bird necklace, nearly everytime I see her from childhood through the present day. That little gold bird and the scent of Channel no. 5 will always take me to Massachusetts.

12.) Worrying over and over for Dad as he flew flight after flight across this amazing world and then finally one day understanding that there’s no use worrying. He is living his passion with planes as I live mine with horses. We both understand the risks, but it’s not enough to deny our truest loves. And so he flies and I ride on.

13.) Watching as Mom shifted from “mom” to Sarah Daignault, the next coming of Napoleon, Joan of Arc and Genghis Khan. (Ie… You know that expression, “Lead, follow or get out of the way” ?? Well just step back, she’s coming through!)

14.) Watching and cheering as Cindy graduated from Friends and Stanford. Both times I was totally proud and amazed to watch the girl that was a little cherub thing I grew up with turn into this rather amazing creature who fears no challenge and always hits the ground running with a plan.

15.) Knowing that I was probably going to need to improve my riding when as I was wheeled into our ‘regular’ ER the head reception nurse looked up and said, “Which horse was it this time Emily?” Towson, 1992

16.) Watching the sun set over the Atlantic, Pacific, and an innumerable number of ponds and lakes and rivers and always pausing long enough to think, “Wow. How gorgeous is this? I wonder what tomorrow will bring.”