A Birthday Wish

On my 75th birthday friends carried me away to a dream. The dream consisted of days spent in Istanbul, seeing once again Hagia Sophia, that very early Christian declaration in monumental stone of the miracle that is Holy Wisdom; the Blue Mosque (hearing the Call to Prayer with newly attuned ears on the first day of Ramadan); the sparkling blue waters of the Bosporus, unmoved by the oppressive August heat; the Grand Bazaar, with its ridiculously handsome young Turkish men luring one forward with words like, “Come in, Lady, let me entice you to spend your money on something you don’t need.” Who could resist such a promise? The dream went on and on and included a cruise aboard the Windstar to Ephesus, Rhodes, Bodrum, Santorini, Melos, finally landing in the ancient city of Piraeus, which serves as the port of Athens. The dream culminated with visits to Delphi and Epidauros, my two favorite places in all of Greece. Nights were spent in the bar restaurant on the roof of our hotel, looking out at the Acropolis, the next-door Temple of Zeus and the mysterious little mountain that is now in the city though it once seemed remote and slightly dangerous, Likovettos. Several stories below, Athens displayed her vivid night presence, so caught up in the present that the past seems a dream, perhaps like the one I was living.

All during the dream journey, everyone within a ten-mile radius (including dolphins, octopi, and Indonesian geniuses of kindness) learned that it was my 75th birthday and that I had just published my first book. And everyone responded with generosity, joy, and congratulations.

My birthday wish is that everyone one on earth experience a similar dream journey to celebrate the fact that she was born and is alive. May everyone on earth have friends like these who gifted me with this mad and beautiful extravaganza.