I had the nicest birthday recently. Is it boring to everyone but me to say I feel gifted? It started with an extravagant 3-dog cuddle and ended with The Good Wife and a glass of wine. In between, a muddy walk with sweet girlfriends laughing and playful dogs zooming, a card from my dad that made me sob happy tears in the kitchen, a shrine of other birthday greetings that won’t come down until I close the house in December, a phone call from Birmingham, a 12-year-old roller skating party pic from Memphis, a voice message from Switzerland, a latte from my favorite coffee and pottery joint, and a romantic-ish dinner in the basement of a historic hotel in Three Forks Montana. And some fabulous love and surprises sprinkled throughout the day, the evening before, and days yet to come (so I’ve been told)(I have no reason to doubt it)(I love birthdays that linger…).
Just one of those surprises (before all the parentheses) was a set of paintbrushes – in a case with a zipper in a box with a bow. From Pat Bond who never cares about his own birthday falling two days before mine. We don’t really exchange birthday gifts and he doesn’t do the shrine of cards, so imagine my surprise this year with a humbly wrapped set of Teflon frying pans to share between the Airstream and home, and a set of long-handled sable brushes sleekly packed like chef’s knives. For me. With love.
When the next day’s horse ride into the woods was cancelled due to windy, sloppy, miserable conditions, I spent the morning at the ranch and then headed home to stoke the fire and unzip the brushes. Hours flew by and 3 bison appeared, which I will also consider birthday surprises (seeing as they are a direct result of a birthday gift and this birthday is still in effect for at least another few days). As they took shape and color, each with its own personality and oddities (that middle guy’s mouth in real life is jacked)(perhaps I exaggerated how crooked and disproportional it is, but not by as much as you think), a mental list of thank you notes I will write for birthday gifts also formed itself:
Dear you know who you are, thank you so much for the:
- Delicious vanilla candle and stripe-y handbag that looks like me to you
- Weather forecast that kept me home this afternoon
- Ability to move these brushes and mush this paint into shapes that make me so happy
- Wonderful friends – the ones who remember this date on the calendar and those who don’t
- Brother who is da stank and the parents who love me more than I could ever deserve or return
- Good and beautiful bottles of wine in my cabinet
- Desire to create food that is beautiful and nourishing from ingredients I can trace and appreciate
- Job that lets me see people at their most generous and most inspired
- Endless supply of paper towels and amazing lack of scarcity in my life
- Mid-afternoon cuddle between paintings #2 and #3, complete with tail wags and that jellyfish thing you do where your bones disappear and you sink into my crook (your ears stink by the way)
- Sale on dog food
- Blankets in three varieties that help Mac the Horse stay warm and dry enough to keep weight on in this weather and keep me from dying of guilt every time the weather turns
- Sunflowers and alstroemeria that will keep my kitchen bright and birthday-centric for the rest of the month
- Birthdays past, spent with people I don’t see anymore, for mile-stoning changes of mind, heart, spine, and location
- Gift you give every time you read these words, look at these paintings, ask me questions, answer mine, and share this art with me.
Happy gifted birthday indeed.