Dear one,

I want to speak in poetry, where the silence means as much as the sound — where silence is sound. Let this silence be stillness, the listening of this body to the creek passing through worn rocks on a journey downstream. Let this silence be watching the daddy long legs tangle — momentarily — and dash off again, creating ripples on the surface of the water. Let it be long luxurious sips of warm chai with milk, carried lovingly down steep slope in bare hands.

This morning, I saw the bones of a young deer in the creek. Half a jaw with six teeth still intact, a spine and vertabrae, a few shorter leg bones. In another pool, a thick bone with edges browning. Out of fear, an honoring of death perhaps — I do not step into this water. Instead, this bare human body stretches over smooth rock. No clothes, just fingers caressing this tender skin, fat and muscle and bone warming in the sun. One day, I too will be just bones for another to stumble across. Then dust, indistinguishable from sand on the creek's floor.

Already rock moss from winter’s storms is yellowing in summer's heat. Even the creek is winding down, its song changing. Nature in constant ebb and flow, death making space for new things to be born.

Butterflies. Long green grasses. Sun at noon. Futon cushioning my sit-bones, trees overhead. Skipping rocks across water. More sips of chai, hands through hair, cicadas singing. Summer is coming. Human body tangled up with nature on this lazy afternoon.

I am not sure what else to say in prose to mark this birthday. Instead, may my body be its own form of poetry — in dancing across stone let my body declare its joy. In sunning may I declare the pleasure in being alive, the lush rich fullness of skin on rock. Let my sounds be not human words, but laughter, delight, gratitude to creek. Settling into the nature from which I come.

If and when I do speak, let my words be gentle, kind, and true. May forgiveness arise easily, disappointment and anger met in loving hands. May resilience grow, so that those that discover these bones remark on their strength. May I strengthen in commitment to a better world for all. May I deepen in patience and hold fast to hope — trusting that the path ahead will always hold love.

I love you, Melanie. I welcome in your joy and release you into the wild to simply be. Happy 31st birthday.


P.S. This year on my birthday, I'm donating to eight organizations in support of peace-building, community building, and earth justice.
Tsuru for Solidarity
Asian Americans Advancing Justice
East Bay Meditation Center
Women Wage Peace
Combatants for Peace
Sunrise Movement
SF LGBT Center

birthday weekend by the creek