Birthday (Day 11)

Welp, I’m fifty. 

I had an amazing birthday. 

It started in Inverness with a stunning sunrise. I stood and watched the day unfold, coffee warming my hands.

The sun came up glorious and warm and Kevin and I went for a kayak, paddling vigorously, muscles burning, and then drifting quietly, watching the birds splash into the still water, hunting for fish or insects.


Friends drove up in the late morning and met us for a hike and the first swim of my fifties! Angie, Arwen, and I got in at Heart’s Desire Beach with the plan of swimming over to the next beach while the rest of the gang walked with our stuff.

As we waded in we realized the water was full of moon jellies. It was kind of magical but fully terrifying. 

Arwen and I had inadvertently swum with moon jellies in Tomales bay back in October and so we had a pretty good idea that they were harmless, but it was very hard to believe as we contemplated immersing our nearly-naked bodies in amongst their eerie, pulsating, gelatinous forms.

We didn’t have much of a choice, though, seeing as our towels, clothes, and shoes were already being carried along the hiking path to the next beach. So we ignored our pounding hearts and plunged in. Except for the occasional hand brushing up against something soft, I didn’t much notice the jellies once I was swimming. And anyway, we soon noticed a glossy, round head assessing us with curiosity, and our irrational fear was transferred to our old nemesis: the seal. 

In the end, of course, we didn’t need to be worried about either the seal or the jellies and we soon relaxed and enjoyed the clear, calm water, which felt significantly warmer than the San Francisco Bay. The beaches were nearly deserted, the sun shining, and I felt supremely lucky to be in this very place at this particular time with these exact people. 

I capped off my birthday with a late-night skinny dip but failed to take any pictures (you’re welcome). 

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