The dogs let me sleep in, thankfully. I walk into the bright trees aware that when I return in five days this color will be faded and the branches black and the leaves will be blown in bright piles on the ground. My walk turns into a long run on the soft earth in the windy woods. I have a few hours to put a bit of order in the day-after-party house, and pack. In the woods, I feel, oh, the nicest thing for this day would be to light a fire and cuddle on the couch with my grown children, a relaxing Sunday talking over the party and eating leftovers. Frank and I are both traveling today; separate directions, he’s already gone. But, running, I say to myself, departure is just another discipline to practice today. And so, I run home and I while I’m packing my daughter says, “Come quick!” and the red tailed hawk is back on a branch in the yard watching us.
It’s time to go, and Charlie tries to get in the car – poor Charlie. I drive west to the Hudson Valley toward the horizon of sun all afternoon and by the time I arrive it’s dark and the moon has risen. Tomorrow I will wake with a mountain view, and begin my work here this week, still happily absorbing, in this birthday week, how blessed I am turning 60 on Friday.