Last year on my birthday, I had just gotten out of surgery. Shortly after that, my eldest cat passed away from lung cancer. This year, at a hotel in Texas, i watched a small yellow bird fly into a glass wall and die. Right in front of me.
If i were a superstitious person, I’d probably be feeling worried. If I were a metaphorical person, I’d probably be wondering what my place is in the world. But as a rational person, I think the answer is far more simple.
There comes a point in every life where things shift. Where things stop building up and start falling away. Where death is no longer a mysterious villain hiding in the shadows. There comes a point in life where it starts to stand a little closer, hides a little less. Starts to look vaguely familiar. There comes a point in life where the world you have built around you starts to flake and peel. And I think there comes a point in life where you feel yourself slowly begin to disintegrate alongside it. And I think with every passing birthday, you feel this especially keenly. After all, the average life is full of dead birds. Most of them we eat.
The death of that little yellow creature today? That was just damn bad luck. Bad luck for the bird. Bad luck for me, who happened to walk outside just as she came in for her final landing. Bad luck for the elderly groundskeeper I found around the corner, who helped me take her out of the rain.
A few hours later, I saw that same groundskeeper walking through the lobby and our eyes met. And that look he gave me… was welcoming. An old person nearing the end of his life looking at a young person nearing the end of the beginning of her life and between our mutual gaze, all those years in between.
I treated myself to an omelet and mimosa for breakfast. Because it’s my birthday and because a fella deserves eggs and alcohol for breakfast on her birthday.
Robert Frost once said that he could sum up life in three words. It goes on. Robert Frost is dead now. And that should probably depress me but you know something? It doesn’t. I chose to find it hilarious. Because it’s my birthday.