Saturday, November 26, 2016


Today I’m wondering how the math of November minus 9 ended up measuring the circumference of my circle of family and friends. For reasons defying any logic, there are a lot of significant birthdays in this month.

For example, my own Dad Jim’s was November 19th and my father-in-law Ted’s was November 18th. Along came granddaughter Zadie after both of them were gone and she landed on Ted’s date, the 18th.  Three decades earlier, my first nephew Ian was born on November 25th and the day after his 1st birthday, my daughter Talia was born on the 26th. 18/19 and one week later, 25/26, seems like some mystical Kabbalahist puzzle. Add to that other pairings—two friends on the 8th/9th, another pair on the 20th/21st, current Intern Jessika same as Talia tomorrow and the plot thickens.

Well, as interesting as the numbers are, the people are more so. The Buddhists say that a human incarnation is a precious gift not to be squandered. Which means making the effort to climb the mountain of human possibility with an eloquent body, a caring heart, a curious mind, a hearty spirit and relentless determination to be better tomorrow than you were yesterday in all of the above. As good a description as any of my daughter Talia, my cross-fit-yogic-basketball-playing athlete, loving teacher, friend, aunt and more, steady reader, eloquent writer and imaginative thinker, hard, hard worker and mover and shaker. Words, like numbers, do not suffice, but still worthwhile to try to praise and bless this young woman who works side-by-side by me at the school. Such blessings.

So this moment to hold hands in a ring with my Dad, Ted, Zadie, Ian, Talia, this inner circle of blood connection surrounded by the next circle of friends and give thanks for it all. And then out we go into a rainy Portland (3rd day) to celebrate Talia’s special day. The sun may not appear in the sky, but I always feel its warmth and light in her presence.

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