A Life Well Lived

36. While we usually talk about miles here at the Department of Wander, today I am referring to years. Yesterday was my 36th birthday.

How did I celebrate? I rose early to don my sparkle kitty ears and wake Rod, as tradition demands. We drank coffee by the tumbling Sol Duc river in the morning sun.  I walked 12 miles by noisy highway 101 as the logging trucks rumbled past. I asked nature for a bald eagle sighting for my birthday and she obliged, sending an excited juvenile wheeling over the treetops at close range. I sat at a picnic table in the sun, soaked my tired feet in ice cold water, and ate my favorite diner foods– grilled american cheese sandwiches, fries with ranch, and lemonade. I swear, the more miles you walk, the better food tastes.

The weather gods gave me sunshine for my birthday, so we finally got to dry out all our soggy gear, and I wore my favorite neon shorts for the first time this year while I napped in the sun, getting properly sunburned. Then we made camp at the Hungry Bear Diner RV lot and indulged in a second round of diner food.

As the sun set, I sipped cocoa with baileys from my camp mug. To Rod’s bemusement, I produced candles from the depths of my backpack and poked them into a slice of cherry pie. He sang happy birthday to me as I lit them and blew them out. Then, with light still in the sky, we tucked into our sleeping bags and Rod read me to sleep.

It was a day filled with all the things I love: kitty ears and sparkles, nature and birds, walking and sunshine, diner food, cocoa, and stories. My skin is crisp with sunburn and I can feel my face crease as I smile broadly. I am fit enough to walk across a state and more, and just crazy enough to think it sounds like fun. This is what 36 looks like.

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