My goodness, who would have thought that I'd live to be this old … seventy-eight years today? I hope I've learned something in my journey of years. I hope I've acquired the wisdom of a crone and the understanding of a seasoned traveler.
I'm glad that I grew up when I did and where I did because when I look around I fear for the future. As I look around at a deteriorating world, I have to place my trust in the babies and the very young. I hope that they can change the destructive direction that we, the human race, is bent on taking. I hope that they, the very young, will learn to respect the planet and do what they can to reverse the insane destruction of our home in the universe and the waste of our natural resources. Somehow, I think the young ones will grow into enlightened beings that will make the planet a better place for all its peoples.
I have lived through wars, enough to know that they do not solve problems, that they only create more and destroy forever the heart of nations. Not only do wars kill and maim, they destroy cultures that are unique to any given people. The loss of a national or tribal identity is a crime that often leads to the inner cities and the problems created there. If the energy that is wasted in waging war was recycled into solving the problems of disease, hunger, and unemployment this planet would be far better for it.
These are just a few of the things that my seventy-eight years have taught me. I've learned, too, that art is the life blood of the human experience. After I retired, I found more time to express myself with the written word and with my photography. This has expanded my outlook more than I can describe. With one book published and another coming out early next year I feel that nothing is impossible, and that the future, even at my age, is full of possibilities.
I was lucky to have been presented with good genes and until last year, when I was blindsided by cancer, I was in good health except for some occasional low back attacks; the result of carrying too many heavy backpacks on wilderness treks when I was younger. Although the cancer diagnosis hit me like a ton of bricks, I had no doubt I would beat it. I'm sure we have all at times wondered how we would take such devastating news and I surprised myself by taking it quite calmly. I saw a young surgeon who was new to the area and although I knew little about him, I immediately felt a kinship with him and his plan of attack. After having looked at all the test results, he said, "I'm going to cure you." Somehow I knew he would. He went on to explain that the surgery would be extensive … one of the more difficult operations one could undergo, but there was no doubt in his mind that he would cure me and because of his certainty, there was no doubt in mine either. The surgery was long and complicated, eight hours on the table. The recuperation was long and difficult, but I made it with only a few days of self doubt. When I saw my surgeon for my last follow-up visit and when he told me that I would not need Chemo or radiation, I knew I was, as in his words, cured. I knew this particular surgeon had only recently joined the surgical group I was referred to, and I have heard recently that he has moved on. With all that evidence I'm convinced that he was an angel sent by the Goddess to be there when I needed him. No one will convince me differently. He was my angel.
I am honored to have my seventy-eighth birthday celebrated by this amazing group of fellow travelers. Many of you were there to help me with your prayers and thoughts through the difficult days both pre and post surgery and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. To have my birthday celebrated across the globe is special and I'm very proud of the fact that I have arrived here at this time in my life. This is literally for me, the first day of the rest of my life.
Last, but certainly not least, I pray for Darryl and for his stanch companion and wife, Heather, in their time of need. I pray, too, for all the others who are hurting or grieving at this time. I know from experience how much that means and I honor all of you as you have honored me.