{ Tuesday, March 25, 2003 }

Birthday Morning.

This morning, Writer Guy woke me up at six thirty, as requested. I noted to him that I was actually born at six thirty-five am and he wished me a very sincere Happy Birthday at the right moment.

By seven o'clock we were out the door. Off on the birthday morning trip. After some discussion we decided to screw saving time and take the backroads.

Today is a beautiful day here. We had a wonderful trip up US 25 from Lexington to Florence and then across to Rabbit Hash, listening to the CD he made me for my birthday. He seemed appropriately interested in all the sites.

"Look at that creek. That's Gunpowder. We're going to pass it again a couple times. It gets huge, so get a look at it now when it's small."
"That's where MomsFiance lives. That's where Mom is going to live for a little while."
"Camp's about three miles down that road."
"Please note how long and steep this hill is. I road my bike up this once without stopping at all."

Finally, we were there. "This is it. This is what we spent the last two hours heading for." Rabbit Hash, Kentucky. We walked down to the river. I hopped along the driftwood at the bank, running along the trees like I was eight years old again and didn't know enough to fear falling through into the river. I forget sometimes how good I am with rocks and trees and hopping and balancing.

"Are you still following me?"
"I'm trying. Should I be?"
"Yeah, that's fine. Just be careful. This might be harder than it looks, and that's the river under here."

One of his feet busted through. When I looked back he was retreiving his sandal. I kept on, running along the length of a tree trunk, remembering the self confidence I sometimes forget I deserve to possess. My body is good at some things.

I found a decent piece of driftwood. It was neat, all polished smooth. This was wood that knew its water. I took it and attached my taped-closed paper bag. I threw it as far out into the river as I could.

I picked up this birthday tradition from LB. Write letters to people who have passed out of your life, through death or circumstances, and send them down the river on your birthday. The water will take them where they need to go.

I watched it for a minute and then I scurried back to the bank. We climbed up the hill and debated going into the store even though it wasn't supposed to be open for twenty more minutes. Instead, we sat down and watched the log trying to go downriver. It got stuck in an eddy and had a hard time letting go. I think that speaks for itself.

"This is my favorite place. Right here."

I didn't think he would get it. I was so afraid that he wouldn't get it. That the Rabbit Hash love would escape him. He sat so quietly. I thought that he was just trying to be respectful of me and my favorite place and my birthday and all. His leg was twitching. He said sitting there, he wanted to write again. He got It. I am sure.

So, we sat and stared at the river and Indiana and whatever there is to see that makes it seem natural that there would be so many benches pointing toward the river right there. We sat and enjoyed my favorite place.

We finished our smokes and went into the store. The woman working met us at the door. "My baby is sleeping in there and I will break you legs if you wake her."

The baby was in a play pen in the back by the woodstove. We walked through, quietly. We looked at the organic foods, souvenier stuff, antiques, and the home-crafted what-nots. He read the community bulliten board. He chatted with the woman working about the upcoming elections and whether or not her dog was running. She said she hadn't thought of it.

While we were checking out, the woman told us several times that she had only been joking about breaking our legs. Someone came in and borrowed the phone. Writer Guy told the woman working that he only lives in Kentucky today. Tomorrow he lives in Illinois.

We emerged. Me with candy cigarettes and an Ale-8, him with a Rabbit Hash Ironworks T-shirt, a bandana and a magnet (for his dad who he said would really get a kick out of the place). Yeah, he got It.

We headed back, not quite the way we came. "There's Big Bone Lick. I thought you might want to see it before you leave Kentucky." We had a little giggle about the name.

We were back by twelve thirty. He has a million things to do before he can leave tomorrow. He's sleeping here tonight, his last night in Kentucky, my birthday.

I've spent the rest of the afternoon avoiding the phone and the world. Napping mostly. If you've called, the caller-id told me and I appreciate it.

posted by mary ann 2:40 PM