On turning seventy

My seventieth birthday – the first day of my eighth decade
A gift to me from me

Mendocino, California
February 18, 2020

The early morning was cold and wet
in the way of coastal Northern California mornings.
I drove down to the river
sat in the car, wrapped in a blanket facing the sun
and welcomed myself into the quiet, familiar place.

Opening my eyes I looked out on the river
the sun higher now above tree covered hills
and quietly chanted Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu 108 times
May all beings everywhere be happy and free.

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Bundled up in winter layers
I set out walking towards Mendocino Bay where Big River meets the Pacific Ocean.
A large open space where logs of all sizes come to rest and decay over time.

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I’m drawn to meditate
pick a log, any log, and sit.

The sun, my only compass through time, warms my face as it moves across the sky.
On this day the only place to be is where I am at any moment.
In this moment, the only thing I want is to sit
to listen to the waves and birds
the honking geese flying by reminding each other they are not alone
the distant sounds of human voices.

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Hours later sitting in a local cafe I strongly feel the presence of Mexico.
Memories flood in, maybe it’s the scent of tortillas in the room.
A late breakfast of burrito con frijoles negros, arroz integral (porque estamos en la Nueva California), pollo, aguacate y salsa – burrito with black beans, brown rice (because we are in New California), chicken, avocado and salsa.
And since now is now, a cafe latte.
When I was a kid my breakfast drink was freshly made jugo de naranja – orange juice,
coffee came years later.

México, siento tu presencia tan llena de vida en mi corazón y alma
Mexico, I feel your presence so alive in my heart and soul 

Drinking my latte
I write and pause.
Listening to the sound of a guitar in the background
Slipping back into the endless moment
of sitting on a log
being held by the sun
and birds

Welcoming myself into being seventy.


After breakfast, wandering and pausing around town

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Along the cliff

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Where there is a bench, just for me.

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A place to sit
and be still
in the afternoon sun


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As the sun got lower I headed north to Fort Bragg
to be with the evening rays
as they softly touch the coast.

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Categories: Landscapes, Photography, Seascapes, The Journey, Travel, WritingsTags: , , , , , ,


  1. Happy Birthday. This is a sublime post. I approach the same milestone soon. I wanted to reboot/share this post but was unable. Blessings! Douglas.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Belated happy birthday to you, Arati. Wonderful glimpses of your gift to yourself on that special day. Being mindful in nature is always a good day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. First, Happy Birthday, Arati. Second, what a beautiful gift, both to yourself and to us. I’ve sat in Mendocino many a time over the years and admired the peace and the beauty. I, too, was over on the coast last week in Florence, Oregon, celebrating my 77th Birthday. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Curt, and happy birthday to you as well. A few years back I spent a couple of days in Florence, as part of my search for “a place to live, somewhere other than California…. ” still haven’t found it. I liked the area a lot, even though I remember experiencing it as being very windy! I felt inspired by the river, the views and beaches.


      • Florence has been one of our favorite towns ever since we moved to Oregon 10 years ago, Arati.
        Finding a new home is always a challenge. Peggy and I did a fairly extensive search. We had both retired and had been full-timing it in our small RV for three years and decided we could use a base. It came down to three locations: the northern part of Northern California, New Mexico near Taos or Silver City, and Southern Oregon somewhere near the small town of Jacksonville that Peggy had fallen in love with. I was born in Ashland. When our realtor found a site for us that had a great Mountain View, included a river flowing through the front yard, backed up to a million acres of National Forest, and was affordable, our search was over. 🙂 Admittedly, it’s 30 miles into town, but that seems a small price to pay. –Curt

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I hope Seventy is a beautiful year for you. Looks like your off to a great start!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve come to realize that 70 is anticipated as was 13, 16, 18, 21, (for some unknown reason) 36, and 50…moments of significant transitions. Thank you for sharing your walk through this day with mindfulness…sacredness.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy Birthday! Love the meditative nature of your birthday Day.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy 70th birthday Arati, thank you for inviting us along on this beautiful and blessed day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful images and a magical journey as you enter your eighth decade.
    The perfect gift from you to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Loving being along on your birthday adventure thanks to your amazing words and as always wonderful pictures. Enjoy everything as it sounds like you are xxoo 💕❣️💕🎂🎂🎂🎂🎂🎶

    Liked by 1 person

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