Writing Practice 12/6/2017

Write about birthdays…

Birthdays are about time. About impermanence, in the face of remembrance. Birthdays are about celebration, yes, celebrating another year older, but, too, these are, in the words of the beloved dirge, “Another year older and closer to death!

Birthdays have no significance other than what we attach to them. Summer and winter solstices mark patterns of being much greater than ourselves. Sunrise and sunset, full moon, new moon, eclipse. These events mark our experience in this world as transitory – temporary – fleeting, for they exist without our experience.

Birthdays, like any other anniversary, require a sentient mind for their existence, their remembrance, their celebration, and thus are dependent on our civilization for their very existence. We are their god. We are their creator, their destroyer, we are their rule-giver, their death-bringer, their resurrection. We are their memory-makers, their legacy takers, their purity definers.

We are their essence of being, so without us they do not exist. Shall a sheep remember that on the seventh full moon after the solstice his mother birthed him from her womb? Shall the shark take the time to recall that it was the fourth new moon and three days since the vernal equinox when she calved, three large, thrashing, vibrant pups into the suddenly blood-filled water?

Shall there be a historical celebration of the turtle at turning fifty, or of the ant to achieve the monumental feat of surviving a whole year? Does the redwood, having stood for three and a half centuries, scoff at the gentle oak reaching skyward for a mere decade?

Shall they all humble themselves in the face of the desert, who has been growing itself for three thousand million years? And what of even that can hold a candle to the Sun, or another Star, having burned twice or thrice as long?

So, what of birthdays? Why bother? Because we cannot comprehend the imaginalities outside of ourselves? Because we cannot imagine the comprehension required to wrap one’s head around the scope of the solar system, much less the galaxy or, Heaven forbid, the Universe? Because we cannot condescend to deign to think of the Planck scale or the Heisenberg atom or the miniscule of miniscules? Because we cannot reconcile the large with the small, the infinitely vast against the infinitely small?

Yes.

And no.

Because all of those things.

And because … cake.