birthday 33

the most special young man in the world made my coffee on birthday morning.

then, after we dined on oatmeal, he accompanied me on a satisfyingly long hike in cummins creek wilderness. he was a reluctant hiker at first, asking to ride in the carrier on my back nearly immediately, and i had a moment of discouragement that we had driven so far to hike so short.

but after snapping a few frames with mama’s camera, he opted to get down so he could take more pictures with the phone. we have some awesome thumbprints to show for that exciting endeavor…

but also a few really nice ones, like these fiddleheads.

some of these trilliums were taken by quinn as well.

trilliums seemed especially appropriate for my 33rd birthday on the 3rd day of april. 3 petals, 3 sepals, 3 leaves, they are so freshly new on my birth day each year. i just love them!

holding hands with my boy got him a little farther up the trail- i’d hold his hand any time.

but then…. what really sold him on this hiking business was when i suggested we collect some elk poop. i just sort of casually mentioned that i’d been thinking of maybe doing that, and that it might just possibly be a good thing to help the plants in our garden grow, and mr. garden himself was suddenly the world’s most enthusiastic hiker! who knew poop could be so motivating?!

i’ve already heard the whole range of remarks about the elk poop, but i am not the first one to have done this. come on people, manure! from herbivores! it’s so completely benign. leave me alone, okay? ๐Ÿ˜‰

they’re just such nice little packages of fertilizer. your hands don’t even get dirty picking them up! (oh, yes we did. about three pounds worth!)

nope, not chocolate covered espresso beans for my birthday….

this picture warms my heart. cedar is such an amazing being, and has been revered by people of this land since long before this tree stood here. we like to surround ourselves with cedar. we have a small cedar tree growing on our front steps in a large pot, to plant on our land one day (all our potted trees are hopeful like that :)), and we also like to have the boughs around us at holiday times. we burn them slowly throughout the year once they are dried out, to let the smoke cleanse our space. it is said that cedar is a guardian against bad spirits. untold superpowers are bestowed upon tree huggers, too, of course. (we are thinking of backpack camping to this spot just to spend more time with this tree!)

my goal was for us to feel refreshed by the time we left and we were successful! we were in the zone, not thinking about what’s next, or whether we want to walk farther, but just being where we were, immersed in the deep green humid mossy womb of the earth, contemplating it all.

we foraged some birthday nettles for mama’s herbal stash on the way back. we also discovered that although the vitamix is reportedly good at eliminating the stingers from nettle in a green smoothie, our kitchenaid does not do quite as thorough a job. we both had minor owies, but i tell ya, it’s a different kind of sting. in the same way women talking about what labor pain is like are quick to qualify the pain: “but it’s productive pain” or “it’s not so much pain as it is hard work”. yeah, there is something different about the sting of a stinging nettle. i don’t recommend going out and doing it to yourself on purpose, but i have to be honest, i expect to sting myself at least once each time i go collecting, and it’s almost a comforting feeling. oh and by the time we got them home they had wilted quite a bit, so i know the stings we got on the roofs of our mouths were much less intense than they would have been if we smoothied our harvest within the first few minutes. that might have been more like birthing a twelve pound baby, which according to my midwife constitutes an “unusual amount of pain” compared to normal sized baby labors. anyway, i’m sticking with nettle infusion, and then adding either “used” nettle from the infusions, or otherwise cooked nettles, to smoothies. nettles are such a tasty cooked green (once cooked even just briefly they are harmless), i use them in anything i’d use spinach or kale in. and i use a green in almost every meal i cook, so it’s always fun to have the variety an edible wild mystical superfood plant can add.

on the drive back home, we made a token stop to look for whales on mama’s birthday, as is becoming tradition. some years we actually spend my birthday weekend doing some quality coast-based whale watching during the migration of the gray whales northward to their feeding grounds in the bering sea. we didn’t stay very long this time and didn’t have any whale sightings, but these two corvid messengers hung out beside me the entire time we were there. (i’m still wondering what they wanted me to know?)

we spent the afternoon getting dirt under our fingernails at our community garden plot, for the group spring cleaning effort. we did a teensy bit of work on our bed, but mostly weeded between beds, and other “community” work of that nature. i scored a bunch of volunteer garlic chives that had sprung up in between some beds, and stuck them in my own so they could actually mature. quinn kept wanting to replant each dandelion anyone would uproot. there were philosophical conversations on the topic of “what is a weed” and he may be four, but he can hang with that kind of discussion. makes me proud. our friend (and community garden coordinator) brought me a bouquet of early spring flowers and made me an amazing upside-down rhubarb cake which we all shared.

later in the day, other dear friends brought us lasagna and brownies! i didn’t even have to make dinner! it was glorious.

quinn loved every minute of the day it seemed, as well. since he hadn’t napped, he went to bed early and i had time to just reflect. i don’t know what i reflected on, and it’s only a week later, but i know that time is so, so necessary and often so rare and fleeting. i was just so grateful for it to happen on my birthday. perhaps i reflected on pulling the proverbial weeds from my life (i’ve been meditating on “pull your weeds, plant good seeds” a lot lately), or maybe i reflected on whether or not something that appears at first glance as a “life weed” really is weedy after all?

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