My birthday is in the middle of November, and there have always been things I liked about that, and others I didn’t.
When I was a kid, the first snow of the winter sometimes happened by November 14th.
In fact, I had a standing bet with my best friend.
Her birthday was at the end of the month, and I bet her we’d see snowflakes by mine, and she bet it would happen closer to hers.The anticipation was exciting, even when the snow didn’t quite make it in time for me to win.
I loved the return of quiet winter days, the possibility of school cancelation, the start of basketball season, and the thrill of sledding down the hills in our yard with my sisters. I even convinced my dog Molly to ride with me sometimes!
And having a birthday after the farm’s hay and corn harvest was finished for the season made it feel there was more time and space for birthday celebrations.
Me pushing little sister Nicole on a sled a few years back. ;)
But one thing, a silly thing I know, but still a thing, I never liked about my birthday was that my birthstone was yellow topaz.
It seemed so boring compared to other seemingly more vibrantly-colored birthstones like ruby, garnet, sapphire, turquoise, emerald, or even the classic diamond.
I couldn’t see anything so great about yellow and wished for another when friends were sharing what theirs were.
But this week, decades later, as Tuesday’s harvest started accumulating in our myriad of crates, baskets, and totes,
I became aware of all the yellow around me - lemon cucumbers, yellow cherry tomatoes, yellow/orange heirloom tomatoes, yellow wax and romano snap beans, even big yellow sunflowers Aidan planted on the edges of different plots - and thought it awesome, fabulous, beautiful, and bountiful.
I kept pointing out anything yellow to Bill and the kids (They asked if I felt okay? Or if I had snuck a beer out of the fridge.)
I also remembered Stacey, the kid, disparaging her yellow birthstone as boring and uninspiring. How wrong she, actually I, was about how pretty, bright, and cheerful yellow is.
And I realized how happy it often makes me.
Well, unless it’s some milk fed calf’s yellow poop I’ve inadvertently stepped in! The reality of farm life is never far away.
And it’s the color of the sun too.
Of course, as farmers growing vegetables and meat, both dependent on photosynthesis, the sun’s important to our livelihood.
But it’s more than that.
It’s vital to life for all of us, making it arguably the single most important chemical reaction on Earth.
I mean, we wouldn’t have anything to eat or any air to breathe without it!
As I snapped photos of our yellow veggies, I felt grateful for that big yellow ball of gas in the sky, and its role in my life.
That potential for growth and harvest signifies hope for the future.
Who couldn’t use more of that these days with
all the uncertainty and distrust that is swirling around us these days?
just like that,
the gratitude evaporated that silly little part of
Stacey the kid,
but actually me,
that still wished I had a more exciting birthstone.
It was gone.
It’s kinda weird, but I felt lighter, confident, and more true to myself.
Thank you yellow for helping me accept myself and trusting that, even though I don’t know what the days ahead will bring, I,
like so many others,
do the best I can to figure it out.
Sunflower (photo by Marlee)
I'm sorry it took me so long but am really glad I keep on figuring it out.
And I know we'll figure it out.