22 March 2011


On this day in 1947, a wee small Rys entered the world. I was born in a small hospital in northern Montana, and was raised at the verge between the prairie and the Rocky Mountains, beneath the sweep of Big Sky. I grew up on intimate terms with nature, and have never lost my feeling of oneness with wilderness and wildlife. At the same time, I have a boundless curiosity about other lands, other cultures. Growing up, the town library and the movie theater were my favorite windows onto the world.

Restless by nature, I've called nearly 40 places home, in nine states and three foreign countries, with many more visited, and still more on my wish list. My roots are in the northern Great Plains, the Pacific Northwest, and the desert Southwest -- with branches spreading across North America. The entire planet is my home.

Being born on 22 March has always felt special -- the second full day of Spring carries with it the promise of new growth, new life, possibility. Then there are those twos, two of them. A lovely symmetry. 22 March is the 81st day of the year -- 81 being 3 cubed (3 times 3 times 3). The confluences multiply. There are 284 days remaining in the year -- 2 times 4 yields 8. Okay, a bit of a stretch, but it's my birthday, I'm allowed.

Here's a list of interesting (and not-so-interesting) facts about 22 March -- historic events, people born, people died. Today also happens to be World Water Day, a significant celebration on a planet whose surface is 70 percent water. If you're curious to learn more about where your water comes from, check it out here.

Further, today marks the day of my son's birth -- born on my 30th birthday, and a finer gift cannot be imagined. I cherish every moment of his life. There is no prouder father.

So here I am, newly 64 years old (8 squared, or 4 cubed, or [remember those lovely 2s?] 2 times 2 times 2 times 2 times 2 times 2, also known as 2 to the 6th power). My body has accumulated the aches and injuries that come from a lifetime of adventure, and my mind is as curious as ever, tempered with some small measure of wisdom borne of learning things the hard way, as well as learning from the kind spirits who have been my tutors and friends. Through it all, the heartache and splendor, mistakes and achievements, uncertainties and revelations, I've been blessed with friends from around the country, and around the world. My resume is long and colorful, my life story even more so. Life is good.

Time is a funny thing. When you're young, your life seems to stretch out before you with no limit. When you're in your prime as an adult, all the moments and days and years have clearer meaning, but old age still seems vague, distant. Now I'm beginning to understand the bounds of our lifespan, and wish fervently for more time, more time. There's so much remaining to explore, to learn, so many new friends to meet, places to see, wonders to experience. The more I learn, the more I understand how much there is yet to discover. Which is pretty cool when you think about it.

So in celebration of the passages of life, I'll end with a song written for my new age. Cheers.

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