I had a birthday last week. I won’t tell you which one it was, but suffice to say I’ve been old enough to vote for a while now.
There was a time when I didn’t like birthdays. I used them as an excuse to take out that old measuring stick (the one in my head) and affirm to myself that I didn’t measure up. I’m not sure what I was trying to measure up to, but somehow I knew I didn’t make the grade.
A while ago I stopped doing that. Now I just count myself grateful to be, as my old friend Monte used to put it, ‘on the green side of the grass.’
Now I try to celebrate my birthday with all the enthusiasm I can muster. This year was no exception.
The festivities started the afternoon before when one of my best clients brought me a gluten-free cake, flowers and jar of handmade jam! It was totally unexpected and therefore sweeter. The cake was just in time because some folks came over to spin and knit and we stayed up way too late laughing and having fun.
Tim took the next day, on my actual birthday, off from work and we went over the mountain to The Clark. If you haven’t been there, and you like Impressionist Art, go. Now. Really. They have an amazing permanent collection (which…um…actually, is out on tour right now), and until October 2nd, they have an exhibit of Pissaro’s People.
Who knew Pissaro did so much portraiture? I didn’t. The exhibit had many wonderful paintings, but also the studies (sketches the artist made as preludes to the completed painting) of the works. It was like a glimpse into Pissaro’s head, and I found it amazing.
Then we were treated to a second exhibit by sculptor El Anatsui. The artist used flattened bottle caps from various forms of alcohol sold in Africa to make a kind of cloth.
These pieces are HUGE. And fascinating. And beautiful.
Although this was probably not an exhibit I would have gone out of my way to see, my life has been enriched by having seen it, especially when I learned that the artist used bottles from alcohol because alcohol was what the Europeans brought to Africa to trade with, and then enslaved the Africans and brought them to the sugar plantations in the West Indies to raise the sugar used to make more alcohol and the cycle continued. To say I was blown away wouldn’t be exaggerating.
Then we drove back across the mountains to have dinner at Athos, one of my favorite restaurants in the Capital Region. We were joined by Lisa and Dave and we sat so long over dinner, talking and eating and talking some more, that the soft-serve ice cream place next door had closed by the time we got there.
When I got home, there were zillions (maybe I am exaggerating) of birthday messages waiting for me. I just kept repeating, “What a wonderful day!”