I attained thirty-tworriffic years of livin’ over the weekend.  Thirty-two.  A comfortable age, an easy feeling.

We’re not big on birthday celebrations in my family, unless they occur during a time period when we’re looking for a reason to prepare a beautiful meal, or go on an adventure.  Falling in late June, my birthday usually provides such an opportunity.  I feel grateful for every birthday, and I always wish that Howard, my brother who passed away about 8 years ago just shy of his 20th birthday, were celebrating with me.

Saturday night, my mama baked me a strawberry shortcake, with her Aunt Juanita’s homemade shortbread.  Oh, my.

Sunday, we woke up to cool, windy skies.  Honeydew made me my favorite egg-and-Swiss on an english muffin, and then entertained Maggie Rose for most of the day so that I could pour beeswax candles and craft ornaments.  Yes, I worked on my birthday.  And I enjoyed it.  For dinner, Honeydew took me out to Two Sisters, where I ordered my favorite lemon-dill butter trout with fresh veggies, a Twista, and a delectable brownie sundae.  As always, the food was fresh, beautifully prepared, and served with friendly ease.

Honeydew hadn’t yet been up to see Logan Pass, so after dinner we took a leisurely drive up the Going-to-the-Sun Road, an unspeakable luxury that we revel in this time of year.  A few raindrops fell as we turned onto the road, but by the time we hit Dead Horse Curve, a gorgeous double rainbow arched over St. Mary Lake, and I knew Howard was with me.  Thanks, baby bro.

Driving up the road, my favorite Dixie Chicks tune sounded through the speakers, and I thought back to blasting Wide Open Spaces as I navigated the interstates from Virginia to Montana.  That song — penned by a girl who left Texas behind for the University of Montana — was released the year I graduated from high school, and it always takes me back to the first true freedom I ever knew, living in a mildewing little cabin at the intersection of Hwy 89 and the Going-to-the-Sun Road.  That taste for freedom turned out to be a life changing addiction, as I turned 19, and then 20, and 21, 22, and now 32 in the shadow of Glacier National Park.

On our way home, the light fell on Divide Mountain — which I’ve always understood to represent the beginning of the world in the Blackfeet culture — in such an unusual way that I knew — as you sometimes just know — that the beginning of my 32nd year is going to be a good one, as long as I work hard and take the time to appreciate all that I am working for.

Precious baby, wonderful husband, stinky dogs, concrete floors, and sticky door knobs.  May I see 33.

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