I wish I could sing like Patsy Cline. Or write like Alice Walker. I wish I could act like Meryl Streep. I wish I could paint like Georgia O’Keeffe.
Oh, to hell with that. I wish I could be my best me. My best self whether I was slouched in front of my computer or hanging out with a friend. If everyone was extraordinary, who would actually be extraordinary?
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I remember the first balloon fiesta I attended. It was 1978. It was a mass ascension morning. It was cold and the grass was wet, drenching my feet and socks. When the balloons began inflating it was the most thrilling sight I’d ever seen. The giant, bright colors towering overhead were thrilling. The sound of the gas burners (and the blessed heat for those standing nearby) was thrilling. Being surrounded by nothing but bright color was thrilling. Watching the balloons gently lift into the sky was thrilling. Balloon fiesta never gets old. Mass ascensions never get old. I’ve been back many times and I’m always thrilled by the experience all over again.
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One of my windows faces due east. I use it to track the sun, track the seasons. The morning sun dances across the window from north to south and back again. This time of year, near the equinox, the sun shines straight into my living room, straight back to the dining room, bright into my eyes as I eat my breakfast.
This window to the east is also a good spot for watching the moon rise over the mountains at the end of the day.
A window to the east is a good thing to have in your life.
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He wanted to fly. I wanted to take the train. We couldn’t exactly sail across the prairies like Greta Thunberg in a sailboat. The train service was difficult, inconvenient and didn’t go all the way through. It was too far to drive in one day. It’s hard to make a responsible choice sometimes, isn’t it? After looking at all the options, I found him outside trimming the roses. “Okay,” I said, “I’ll fly.”
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It was a bumper crop. A record breaking crop. We put folding chairs under the tree and sat in the shade eating peaches, gooey juice running down our chins, until we could eat no more. Then we filled up every bowl and basket we could find and walked the neighborhood spreading peachy goodwill. Everyone loves my peach tree.
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The back of the car was filled with games and DVDs and snacks and drinks. The front had a big cup of coffee ready and plenty of road trip music. But we had such a good time looking at the scenery, counting cows and antelope, singing songs, and making up shapes in the clouds that we didn’t need anything but the open road and ourselves.
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Let’s dance. Let’s dance in the streets. Let’s dance in the store aisles. Let’s dance through the restaurants and bodegas. Let’s dance until our legs give out and our hearts are full of joy. Let’s dance until the end of the world.
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In the dream of America there was talk of equality and freedom of religion. There was a sense that anyone could come here and be welcomed. Of course, it was never quite like the dream, even in the beginning. Yet, it was close enough to the dream that we could say America was like that, stood for that. . . .
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