1/07/2015

Wishing Myself a Happy Birthday

First, I would like to thank millions of Eastern Orthodox Christians for waiting until my birthday to celebrate Christmas. That is too kind.
Though it is midwinter, I take off my shoes, open the eyes in the soles of my feet, and learn how to walk again. This is my first step, not taken but given, like breath. This step has no beginning or end. The atoms of the earth are the atoms of the air. The atoms of the air are the atoms of my body. Fire is a verb. Water is a feeling. Any day you spend loving for no reason is the Sabbath.

Now I open my fist and look into my palm. I see the hand of Jesus. I see the hand of the undocumented grape picker, the hand of my Cro-Magnon grandmother, the hand of my enemy's unborn baby girl. I see your hand too.


How marvelous! I have no free will; that is why I am free. How wonderful! No difference between subject and object; that is why every perception of pleasure or pain is bliss. How weightless! Time is a thought mirage; that is why, the moment I drop thinking, there is no past or future. As one who has just been born, I can say with confidence that the earth sparkles and dissolves like a drop of green nectar on the back of a tiny Amazonian frog.

Why did I take this journey through the stars, landing my blastocyst upon the flickering mozaic of ancestral eyes on the candlelit apse of my mother's uterus? Was it because I heard the sound of a bell that has not yet been struck in a distant galaxy? With this heartbeat, I break the ancient illusion of cause and effect.

The osprey and pteranodon emerge full grown from the same egg, one winging backward, the other forward in time. So what? Both are equally miraculous, ordinary, and breathtaking. All human languages arise from the gong of a raven, nesting in the branch of an old hemlock, which can only be seen through my kitchen window while sipping tea and sitting quietly at my great Aunt Gertrude's antique Quaker table.

Birth is birth, death is death, yet they are precisely the same event. If I am truly awake, one breath recreates the world in the starry vastness between my nostrils and my belly button.

No separate person called "me" ever wiggled through the birth canal. If you want to wish "me" happy birthday, you must wish yourself happy birthday. Neither of us is one moment old. And if you want to stand on the peak of the highest mountain, to gaze for a hundred miles, you must learn to stand in your own back yard and see a tiny crocus poking through a lump of mud. I will meet you there.

Now here is my message to the universe: send money!

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