on this day…

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I encountered this old family Bible this morning, in the place where I’m staying this weekend, and reading the list of entries of significant family events reminded me how important it is to mark the significant events in our lives. And just because it is so charming, I’ll give you a few handwritten lines from this text:

My daughter Mary was born on 24th of Febr: 1648 at Rocky m Shopshire betwixt a 2 & Half an Houre past 8 at night. My Father Robi is God Father, Mrs. Mason Mc Ball God Mother….
My Daughter Dorothy was born at Sutton in Surrey on 14th of May 1680 about half an Hour after 5 in the evening Sir Rich Mason Mr John Inwood God-Fathers Mrs Margaret Mason Mrs Draper God-Mothers

So this line of thinking prompted my reflection about today being one of the more significant anniversaries in my life…On this day in 1984 I was diagnosed with bone cancer. Ever since then, I’ve found May 21st to be a heavy day. Bad things don’t necessarily happen to me on the anniversary of this event, but I can’t help but re-live some of the horror of the doctor’s words as he told me that my life would change forever.  This was back in the day before “cancer awareness” and widespread survival from the disease. Up to that point I’d never known anyone who’d had cancer and lived to tell the tale.  And while I’ve lived through and well-beyond my cancer experience, the reminder of how it changed my life still lingers and feels a bit raw on this date every year…

So…I didn’t plan my day with anything to specifically respond to this anniversary. Rather, I let my day evolve rather organically, to see what adventures might fall in my path. It began quite early (5am!), with a drive up the 101 freeway to my outrigger race. And that race was one of the best ever–with an enthusiastic team and wild ride on a huge wave back to shore (and that stellar ending where I jumped out of the canoe and into the surf!). I ran in the earliest race slot, which meant I was finished by 10am. And from that point on, so many interesting happenings: a warm shower in a rock waterfall, mid-morning coffee and a photo session in an old church, several used bookstores, a bison burger, finding the perfect pretty little sundress, a rather-thrilling drive up into the hills above Ventura, chile verde, meeting a vintner/sommelier and taste-testing his week-old bottling of a yummy cabernet sauvignon, a special treat for my upcoming birthday (with homemade caramel sauce–yum!), and a long evening conversation with a nonfiction writer who’s working on a YA book about the wildlife of the Channel Islands (including this kitten-sized Island fox).  And now I’m lounging in front of a fireplace with a warm fire and am feeling quite satisfied at how this day turned out.  I couldn’t have planned it any better if I had tried…

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