Happy Birthday

Today’s it’s my brother’s birthday and I think of him in New York City, celebrating another day.

I think of all the people we cannot see who think of us when we can’t imagine anyone thinking of us.

I think of the tiny prayers we hold in our hearts. The ones that we want to take root in the January ground, growing when the light is short and the days are cold.

I think of the tree I loved. The one that we cut down. How its roots remain underground, battling with the grass, trying to grow some more. The tree still shelters me, even though it’s glorious leaves no longer shade me as I sit on my porch. Even the memory of how I loved to look at its understory sustains me.

My childhood still sustains me. The way my brother taught me about acceptance, one song and small speech at a time. How we could listen to a song we liked on the radio. How he’d drive past home, tell us we needed to keep driving to hear the song.

How my Uncle Bobby remains right here with me. He’s the one who taught us to sing and play and appreciate The Rolling Stones. How he called out in the dark at the movie theater during “War Games.” “Kiss her!” he yelled.

Kiss her! I think of that so often. Turn up the radio when a song you like starts to play. Car dance. Sing loud. Take the joy of this moment and soak in it. Make that joy your understory when the light is short. Celebrate your birthday in New York City with the woman who loves you now. I see you walking the earth. I love you. It’s your birthday. My understory travels with you when you least expect it. I turn up the radio and sing (badly). I keep driving while the song plays.



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