Deep in the heart of winter, you will find my birthday…There it is, dangling at the end of January, as if daring spring to come any closer. Yet with this day, I challenge the gloom. Take that – rain! Take that – gray, unrelenting clouds! Take that – icy mornings and sun that never breaks through! It’s time to celebrate life. Celebrate being ALIVE. Forget the dreariness of outside and remember how fortunate it is to simply be alive.
The day after my birthday, and still in a celebratory mood, I took a walk on the Hawthorne bridge, which spans the east and west bank across the Willamette river near downtown Portland. And there it was. Something hidden in the steel supports below the bridge. Bigger than a gull, bigger than a peregrine. A flash of crimson and gold feathers, a glimpse of fierce dark claws. Tiny tendrils of smoke issuing from the head. Unblinking green eyes meeting mine for maybe five paralyzing seconds.
Unexpected joy suffused me. Dragon! And my own innate dragon roared to life. I was born in the year of the dragon, and sometimes, if I am very lucky, the creatures that inhabit the alternate world recognize their own. “Happy birthday!” they seemed to say. “Celebrate your life Louisa! And don’t forget to keep writing about us!”
And that I can do.