For some reason I always wake around the time I was born on my birthday. (3.15am). It is hard to get back to sleep as I think about the way my life has gone, a Camino in itself of luck, love, sadness and a lot of grieving, but best of all, friendships and family that have moulded my soul.
People tell me I’m lucky but you make your own luck. It takes guts to break from the “norm” and chase your dreams. Sometimes it feels very selfish but in order for me to function, I need to spread my wings and live with freedom.
Today, the day after my birthday, I woke in the early hours thinking about my mother, a tiny woman of 5’ 1” with a powerful personality that commanded respect, but she did it in such a gentle way that everyone who met her just loved her. She was good at everything she touched, she was incredibly kind, and she loved to sing. I woke with a song in my head that she used to sing around the campfire. She was Welsh and her voice floated through the air like a whisper of wind, up into the darkness mingling with the sparks from the fire. It silenced everyone and then she would sing Sospan Vach, and Ar Lan Y amor, a traditional folk song about missing one’s home across the sea.
When I look at our family, we have several members who stepped away from classic normality and did the unexpected. I’m from a long line of courageous and independent women. I see where I get my sense of adventure from. My life has opened up since I broke away from the stifling lifestyle of working so hard. There was no spiritual gain. It was so liberating to sell everything and let go of all that “stuff” I had spent a lifetime collecting. This seems to frighten people but having spent so much time with a backpack, I have come to realise that owning stuff can be a burden. I opt for a simple life.
So, each year I am grateful for another birthday. It’s a time to reflect deeply on what is important in life. By waking with my mum on my mind, I’m sure it means she is watching over me. A comforting thought, but it didn’t end there…..
I had slept with the blinds open and as dawn broke and the birds started singing, the sun streamed in and crept across the carpet towards the bed, casting a golden glow around my yellow walled bedroom. Although it was a chilly morning, for once there was to be no rain on my birthday- a rarity with a winter birthday. At 10.30, my Blackheath friends met me in a posh cafe in Katoomba for morning tea.
Again I was reminded of my mum, because this is something we did every year to celebrate. Starched white linen tablecloths covered the tables adorned by fresh flowers, china tea pots and old fashioned tea cups. I pulled up my plush linen covered high back chair and the waitress laid my starched white napkin on my lap, gave me a glass of champagne and presented an extensive menu describing the deliciousness on offer. I silently laughed to myself as I imagined my mother’s satisfaction at the fact that I had actually put a dress on and even some lippy, instead of opting for the usual daggy jeans.
I chose sandwich fingers of salmon and cream cheese, chicken , and ham with mustard. The others had pancakes and scones. Each tea cup was accompanied by matching teapots and we played ladies for a couple of hours. ( except for Rowan, our token man at the head of the table , who was there because he just didn’t want to miss out). It was my friend Margaret’s birthday as well and we were presented with a “birthday plate” each so we had a photo opportunity before leaving. Such fun.
A brief trip home and then Carlene picked me up to go to the movies to see a French comedy called Antoinette in the Cervennes. This was another experience to remember. (Built in 1934, the cinema is a window into the golden age of Australian country picture theatre culture”.)
Arrival at the theatre meant queuing up at the window outside, just like the old days). The shutter flew open and our names were ticked off, seats allocated and we entered into the darkness. On the way in, you grab a cushion and find your seat, an old leather chair with a high back. A piano from yesteryear still sits on the right hand side of the stage in front of the red velvet curtains and everyone lined up at the window to the right to get a cup of home made soup or coffee.
What a great day! Finished it off with phone calls from my grandchildren and then I rugged up in hat, gloves and coat to bathe outside under the full blood moon and it’s eclipse.
I’m so thankful for everything in my life right now and I am so “lucky”!