The small red clouds are fading into gleams of sun. The neighborhood is quiet. Upstairs Tom is beginning to stir. In the back room my sister, on a happy visit, is still silent. Today is my 54th birthday.
My private life is peaceable, my gardening life is swaggering, my political life is enraged, my writing life is fizzing over. It seems that the linking word in these phrases is life--though when I was 16, I wouldn't have guessed that an aging person could feel so lively. It's a nice discovery about growing older: that the world is still so interesting . . . maybe even more interesting than it ever was before.
Today I'll make breakfast with Tom and my sister. Later she will drive home, and he and I will wander off on some little unstructured jaunt suitable for a birthday-celebrator with a damaged but healing foot. I plan to read, and play with my cat, and listen to baseball playoffs, and fold laundry, and do nothing at all spectacular except enjoy being a 54-year-old woman: long married, graying, not as thin as she used to be. But smiling! I want to be one of those old ladies who laughs with noisy children in the grocery store. And militant! I want to be one of those old ladies who backtalks swamp monsters. And busy, and dreamy, and prone to kiss the cat. You can see: I have big ambitions. May the years strut forth on the promenade, and roll down to the sea, and wander through the forest.