Saturday whirled by in a haze of sugar and champagne and family- a welcome distraction on a Covid-era birthday. (With some fully vaccinated family members, too!)
And distraction was just what I wanted.
I don’t really like my birthday anymore. It makes me sad to turn another age my mom will never see.
And I’m now only two years away from no longer being a twenty-something. (Will I have to rename the blog?! 😉)
And then there’s the disaster that was 2020! I joked, “27 didn’t happen, so I’ve decided not to turn 28, I’m just going to do it over again”. Because in some ways it feels like a stolen year for all of us.
Yeah, the big picture sucked, but I have to remind myself that in small moments there was joy, experience, novelty, excitement, wonder, and growth.
On my birthday last year, I road tripped with my dear Elliott out of Nashville to be reunited with Al in Johnson City. On our way, we followed the path of devastation the Tornado had torn through Nashville, pointing out the car windows and gasping at wrecked warehouses and trees ripped from the ground.
I made new friends while rehearsing a show in Maryland, and that night the news of the virus started to seem real- and frightening. The next day, I took a run through the blossoming cherry trees while listening back to the rehearsal tapes, tried to push my fear down and focus on the lyrics which I hadn’t quite gotten down yet. We weren’t even sure the show would happen, bars and businesses closing right and left by the hour. We ended up playing, but anxiety had me in a daze. What I wouldn’t give to get a do-over and actually enjoy it!
After what felt like a month shut up inside my house with only Huckleberry for company, Shelby Jo and I road tripped back home to Montana. We thought we could make it in two days… but… first the wind started up… then the lightning… then the rain… as we entered South Dakota it turned into a blizzard and black ice. And then around midnight, we were spinning off of the interstate, my car slapshot across the interstate lanes by the wind like a hockey puck into the ditch. We got so lucky to have landed in a big drift of pillowy snow. And then lucky that a couple cars who hit the same patch of black ice barely missed hitting us as we sat there, stuck and helpless. A tow truck later, and we were on our way to the Airbnb that was still an hour away. We made it around 5 am and celebrated with a mug of whiskey on the porch, admiring the snow even though it had done us soooo dirty.
The rest of Spring was such a fabulous homecoming. Teaching lessons from Montana over zoom, realizing that maybe someday I could run this little one-woman school of mine from anywhere. Hikes and campfires and cocktails. Filing for unemployment for the first time, that was… educational!
A heart wrenching decision to not renew the lease on my beloved Nashville townhome.
Dad and I road tripped down through the desert back to Nashville to pack me up and move me home, hitting several national parks on the way- Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Pink sand dunes, a night roughing it in the truck on the Devil’s Backbone underneath literally the most insane night sky I’ve ever seen.
Some really hard goodbyes.
Some exciting hellos- reuniting with old friends. Standing next to one of my best friends at her wedding. Getting to be an involved Aunt Jadi again.
Flying a freaking plane! More farm work and horse scratchin’ than I’ve done in a long time. A very lucky run in with a massive grizzly while I was by myself… AH. (Or getting hit in the neck by a piece of semi tire that had blown right as it passed me… also AH?! A little lucky to be alive on that one.)
Not being a blonde for the first time! (Should so bring back the red hair?)
Meeting family members for the first time and loving them more fiercely than I realized I could.
More National Parks: Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton. Some secret hikes and lakes I hope stay hidden. Lookouts and Forest Service cabins, reminding me that electricity is sometimes overrated. The adrenaline rush of lake skating, trying to chase the perfect conditions.
Falling in love…
I’ve had a few nice connect-the-dots moments. Working out at Orangetheory the other day, I realized some of my vocal coaching habits and philosophies come from what I absorbed while working for them for years. So many years away giving me a borderline delusional happiness as I walk across the field on a negative degree day, on my way to the hay shed to feed the horses- despite the fact that my nose is close to freezing off.
All those things I never thought meant anything led me to the moment I have now. Two jobs I love fiercely, getting to be close to my dad again. Getting to love on my family members- in good times and bad.
I am thankful to see another year and promise to keep my eyes out for new moments for which to be grateful.