I have always been driven by things unseen at first glance. I believe in signs, messages from the Universe if you will, and this birthday I pushed my "thinking" head aside and opened my heart and asked it what it really wanted and needed from me round this milestone. At twenty five I had done something similar, it seems it has always been natural for me to mark time in a way of ritual of some sort. I prepared for several months, first by looking and writing a blog about every year in my life. This was a fascinating discovery and amazing insight, looking with clearer eyes at the past. I then prepared a CD (actually eight) of music that spanned what was meaningful to me from my first recognition of music through today. I timed these to be exactly 12 hours, as I knew the real symbol of everyone's life is a journey. Knowing this found me starting my own road trip late at night the day of my birthday.
It takes exactly four and 1/2 hours to reach Galveston Island from where I live now, and I have traveled this road many, many times in my life. So I set out at 1:00 am on my birthday...driving through the night with only the truckers for company. It was dark and quiet, and the music I had chosen transformed me back into the different stages of my life, different thoughts, different feelings. Every mile was a different memory; a child in the backseat of a car excitedly anticipating her summer vacation, an angst ridden artist taking the trip for spring break with Roger and Bruce in the old Volvo, the escaping to Houston in Carol's Cadillac to distance myself from my family. All were present in that car. As I drove by the buildings of downtown Houston I remember them exploding with fireworks and lights at the Jarre concert, the friends I made then all dead now. It became foggy the closer I got to the island, and in this mist other years came; with Judy driving this expanse at least once a year while we crossed the nation in work, family vacations with that amazing dysfunctional family of mine. It really was like a movie of my life in the darkness, where I was a witness instead of a participant. And in this, I was able to see each experience, be thankful for what it had given me, and have compassion and be grateful in ways that weren't always available in the living of it. Even the sad parts found redemption.
As I crossed the bridge from the mainland to the island, I had the huge rush of happiness I always do. "The BEACH." :) Still dark, I drove down the length of Broadway past the Bishop's Palace to reach the Galveston seawall, that then followed the 17 miles of it down beach side of the island. It was so quiet and dark, very few people milling about, and I finally found my way to the beach I always visited as a child. I spent every summer of my childhood right here. The beach where I had climbed over jetty rocks and searched for shells for years. I then waited for what I really came for. The sunrise of my fiftieth year.
Of course there was all manner of activity this day and the days following, friends, food, calls, amazing gifts as all birthdays inspire. (Wade, thank you so for just being the amazing friend you are every day, but this day especially.) But the gift I gave myself, this sunrise and all that lead up to it, was the most meaningful and profound experience I could have wished for. I am now ready to get on with the journey to 75. :)