On February 13th, I woke up in a body that is thirty years old. I’ve been dreading this number for reasons I cannot entirely wrap my hands around — so it seems there’s no way to turn it over and thoroughly discover the meaning of it, if there is a meaning. When I looked in the mirror that morning, I looked exactly as I had the day before except my hair was wavy from sleeping. I thought to myself, “Well, I suppose thirty might not be so terrible, except I feel creaky and old in my soul. Perhaps I’ve been old in my soul always, though, and this is a day just like any other?” Then I threw some warm clothing, my toothbrush and my headlamp in my backpack, tossed my skis in our truck and we all went yurting in the backcountry of big, strapping, wild and beautiful Idaho. We picked up a few friends along the way and our party of six skied into our first yurt in the dark of night. The sky was clear, winter clear, wherein the light from celestial bodies seemed to travel with dignity and diffused in slinky blue blankets of shadow and bright turning forest floors into formal places — all seemed alchemic and sweeping waltz. All seemed spun to sterling. I thought there was a tuxedo on the wilds. The snow, a diamond studded cummerbund.
Every turn I took on my skis through a thick ponderosa and fir forest pushed my verve up against the trembling of crystals and the bluster of minutia. Orion went striding before me. Perhaps I moved like Pegasus, all whistle and windsong, all waxen heart and wingspan. You can fall into a rhythm that defeats time and so believe you’ll live forever, even when you’re ashes to ashes and turned to dust. So I did. I lived one million forevers until we arrived at our yurt, struck up a fire and broke our bread together while sipping our wine.
Is there anything better than being warm with fire, warm with wine and warm with company on a winter night in the woods?
The next day we strapped skis on our feet again, cruised through the sunshine and snow and felt it all again.
It was a good to be Idahoan.
It was a good to be me.
It was good to be alive.
Turning thirty, rolling over into a new decade of my life, has caused a bit of consternation and a vast amount of reflection. While nothing particular has changed about me and my life, everything seems different. I am, as always, the keeper of a heart that is most dichotomous, branching and breaking, foundering and flying, living and dying. It’s all sort of beautiful, this quick and this dead. If I could compress this past year of my life, roll it into a simply singing atom in the palm of my hand, it would mean all of this: Life is the sum of dark and light.
And so, it seems, it’s ever onward and upward.
Thanks for being here last year. Thanks for being here this year.
I’m thirty and everything is going to be more than alright.
PS Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! You’re my favorite lovers.