The Wisdom of Insignificance

A Birthday Reflection


Here’s to a decade of weekend parties and hangover stories.
Here’s to the days of shopping mindlessly for a pair of shoes.
Here’s to reckless remarks on Facebook and midnight text messages.
Here’s to the last day of my twenties.

Tomorrow I will be thirty.
A woman renewed from years of heat and pressure.
Like a gneiss, tough, resilient yet beautiful with its foliated scars —
Alternating bands going about, with one on top of another, then another, then another;
Light, dark, light, dark — the pattern goes on;
Each telling a story of pain and transformation, of flourishing and celebration.

To the altar of life I sacrifice myself; for this realization of insignificance.
Like a grasshopper lost in a sea of wildflowers, yet, knowing exactly where it’s at.
Like seaweed standing unnoticeably among vibrant corals, so dull yet indispensable.
Like a flake of snow meandering down, landing gracefully on the Rockies;
So common, so small, yet elegant with its perplexing feathery form.
Here’s to you life, for gifting me this humbling wisdom.
I thank you and forgive you for what you’ve done to me;
For the times you kicked me into the ground and left me out for the crows.
I forgive you and thank you from my heart of hearts.

Here’s to my beautiful child;
The tear in my eye, my joy of joys, my world and my universe;
My little grasshopper.
For you I trek the edge of sanity and stand on the arête of morality.
For you I play with the waning sparks of creativity and test the limits of reason.
For you I chase the fleeing moments of euphoria, catching them like delicate butterflies;
Placing them gently in a special golden box, a box in my soul of souls.
And for you. And for you and only you, I shall scar a thousand times over.
Just promise me my little one, promise me.
That you will always shatter ceilings and walk through walls;
That you will take on the limitless universe and all of its glory.
That you will do so patiently and stubbornly if need be.

Here my little grasshopper, a gift I shall now reveal; the most luxurious gift of all.
A gift birthed from suffering and surviving such a cruel world.
A world better fitted for beasts; so corrupted, so skewed;
A world of harshness we were so nakedly born into;
Cut off from the comforts of the womb;
Gasping desperately for that first breath of life.
Life. Oh life. So unforgiving, so rough, so unpredictable
And yet, so full of astonishing beauty and wonder;
So here my child, I give to you my greatest epiphany, my greatest find,
My offering to you on this very day; the eve of my birth.
A gift of nearly thirty years of making.
I give you: the wisdom of insignificance.

- J.N.

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