Sunday, March 22, 2015

Happy Birthday To Me

I’m told I was born on March 21st. I wouldn’t know.  As I recall I was busy that day. How could I concentrate with all that fuss? I was still trying to make some sense of FDR’s inaugural speech a few weeks before which I heard umbilically. Something about not fearing anything except for the fear of fear. Now I would know about fear having been washed ashore from that embryonic sea and summarily slapped for my effort.

Surely the date of my arrival is a tribute to family planning. I never took my mother and father to be such visionaries. The first day of spring is Nature’s birthday, at least in this hemisphere. I took my first breath as the lilies were exhaling, hyacinth bulbs emerging and coral trees hanging their first red lanterns of the year. Whales and migratory birds were in transit on their appointed paths. Seasonal resurrection was in the air.

Not everyone can claim an equinox. Equal parts day and night make for a balanced life, granting the shadow side its due. I do have a hate-list which includes religious orthodoxies, willful nescience and goat cheese. I’ve also led a double life on the astrological cusp in escrow between Pisces and Aries lo these many years. Gurgle and Bah, It’s been an amphibious existence, half in, half out of water.

So it was not a dark and stormy night. It was dark with intermittent sun or bright with patches of clouds. The weather report that day was light with increasing darkness toward night time. In political terms the headlines were breadlines with Roosevelt’s reforms about to happen. On the other side of the ocean Hitler was declaring the Third Reich. I must have missed the first two. J.S. Bach also has a birthday today. When he was my age now, he'd been dead for 17 years. Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Philip Roth had just been born a few days ahead of me and Calvin Coolidge had recently died. When Dorothy Parker heard the news she famously quipped, How could they tell?

My mother said I was a cry baby and I wouldn’t put it past me what with the Dust Bowl, Japanese invasion of China and Mussolini on the rise. Or it could have been a diaper pin. Whatever it was I got over it by the time I graduated from college.

It has taken me 82 years to get to be this old. It all happens when we’re not looking. If this were a movie the past 31 Peggy years would be my highlight reel.

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