This past Saturday marked the first day of my forty-ninth year of life. Yep, this Gemini girl is now just shy of the half-century mark!

In the past, June 2 has often been a day when I mulled things over, lamented many of my choices and wished I could dig in my heels and stop the progression of time and age. For after all, with each birthday comes a few more wrinkles, a few more creaks and groans, and a few more age spots that remind me of the succession of the calendar.

But, I surprised myself this year. There were no moments of lamentation, no moments of mulling, no moments of pulling on the reins and saying, “Whoa, Time. You’re going way too fast!”. Instead, I experienced a celebratory day of quiet joy and peace. For after all, the sun was radiantly shining, the birds were joyfully singing, the prairie sky was clear and colored that perfect cornflower blue…..and my heart was beating. What more could I ask for?

And adding to those God-given gifts, I received the gifts of the smiling faces and sweet voices of little girls and older girls and guys as they sang “Happy Birthday” to me. I felt their warm embraces and I felt their love. And I knew in my heart that I was quite blessed, which made me quite thankful that I was getting to say hello to another year of glorious life, no matter the age spots or new wrinkles!

And besides, I had already determined that my spirit felt thirty-six years old and thus, that is the age I will remain until my spirit tells me otherwise.

FFFF

I thought I was going to impress you all with my knowledge of the scientific names of the wildflowers I encountered a few days ago. So, I googled and re-googled and must have wrongly googled in the first place, because I found very little information and even fewer pictures of the colorful species of flowers that are blooming right now, not only on that piece of ground, but also just about everywhere you look beside the highways and dirt roads of the county. So, I will bow to the fact I haven’t any idea of their correct names, and just say they are beautiful, and prolific, perhaps because they spent so much time beneath a blanket of snowy moisture this past winter.

A couple of evenings ago, I was intently painting a sign for the new eatery, Yellow Horse, and my eyes had gone blurry from concentration. So, I whistled for the dogs and we all clamored in the pickup and headed west. The evening sun was beginning to cast shadows as I began walking south beside the Munson. At first I was only admiring the puffy white clouds above, but then my eyes were drawn to bright spots of color along the rutted track.

In layman’s terms, here are the flowers I saw. A solitary, regal, and tall purple milk thistle; several orange clumps of wild snapdragons; many scatterings of delicate, blue verbena; lots and lots of little yellow, five-petal flowers; smatterings of happy-looking purple and blue asters; just a few yellow prickly pear cactus flowers; and a patch of bright blue flowers that signal the advent of the nasty sticker weed. And I guess I shouldn’t admit that I also admired the delicate white and pink flowers that grace the dreaded bindweed plant, since I know they are so highly abhorred by everyone.

And best of all, mixed in with and shining forth from the plethora of wildflowers all about me was the Indian blanket. With bright red petals whose ends have been dipped in yellow ‘paint’, this winsome creation has always been my favorite. For, believe it or not, when I was very young I truly thought that each flower was actually part of some benevolent Indian’s blanket. (Hey, I was a very literal-minded child!)

And so, as I bent down and gently touched the velvety-soft petals of one flower, I smiled, remembering that innocent belief. And then, as I stood up and looked at the many bouquets of red Indian blankets all around me, I thought of how each of these flowers held in their beauty and hardy existence the essence of the real thing. And for just a fleeting moment I thought I saw the whirling of so many colorful blankets - the same blankets that once covered the shoulders of the American Indians who perhaps walked among these same wildflowers on this same patch of prairie so very many moons ago.