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November 7, 1997

It rained all night, but the sun was out and everything sparkled. I parked at the far end of Stow Lake, jogged around the lake, into the botanical gardens, past the museums and a rock band complete with dancing groupies in the band shell, then back to the lake. A rented surrey filled to the brim with seven small children and steered by two hearty women, made its way up the hill in front of me. I overheard one of the women say to the other, “That is the last time I’ll wonder what renting a surrey is like!”

I saw a young couple kissing as an older couple passed by holding hands. I thought about my own marriage and a topic of conversation that has recently become popular among my circle of thirty-something friends, “passion.”

I saw the remnants of what must have been a very damp wedding being picked up by a couple of young men in tuxes. I saw a woman wearing way too much makeup, dressed in a bright orange and gold kimono walking down the road.

I thought of passion again:

taking in enormous gulps of life with each breath;

stepping out of the observing, grateful mode;

offering up a piece of one’s self, not shrinking;

connecting, and in doing so giving others permission to do the same.

So simple, and there for the taking at any given moment.

November 11, 2011

It rained all night. We had planned a run and a picnic at Golden Gate Park.  “Let’s go anyway,” I said to Tony as we watched it drizzle over the bay from our teeny, tiny empty nest. I quickly cleaned the cottage (in five minutes flat) in preparation for our weekend guests – a family of seven! I can already hear myself saying to Tony, “That’s the last time I’ll wonder what sleeping on the kitchen floor is like” (our kitchen alcove is the closest thing we have to a spare room), we loaded up Cassidy, and headed across the Golden Gate to the park.

By the time we found a place to park that was suitable for Cassidy (deserted spot in a city of 700,000 people), it had stopped raining. We ran past the museums, now entirely different buildings, we ran past a group of young people dressed in Great Gatsby garb (sparkles, long strands of pearls, pin striped suits),  Tony thought maybe they were part of a band, we ran past a young couple kissing.

As we passed by Stow Lake and approached the spot where I had seen the woman in her kimono 14 years ago, I felt a bit weepy and joyful (menopause + endorphins?).

Tony and I were the older couple, on this day in the park.

I took in a big gulp of life, so grateful for every breath, not shrinking (literally), so fortunate to be able to connect with others in a meaningful, positive way.

Passion, so simple, and there for the taking at any given moment.