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The Birthday Year

original work by Fred Leeds


ears are funny things. Did you know there is more than one kind?

First, there is the year that everybody and his aunt knows about. This is the year that plods along faithfully from January to December. Easy enough to follow, but a little dull.

Then there is the school year, when yellow notebooks are tossed away like Autumn leaves and fresh new ones gotten out. This is the year that marches, solemn as a textbook, from September into June. Kids know much more about this year than any grownups do.

But are regular years and school years the only possible years? Can you remember--or imagine--other kinds of years?

What about the Birthday Year? Have you heard of it?

Everybody has one. Let me tell you about mine.

I must wait until May Twentieth for my regular birthday to return from yesterday, but my Birthday Year is always about tomorrow. It loops from one May Twentieth right into the next, not bothering to pause on May Nineteenth, or ever.

Maybe you weren't born in May, but could your March or July or September Birthday Year be anything like mine?

What if I went to sleep one May and woke into one of your Septembers? Would your Autumn leaves surprise me? Would I - should I - return?

The Birthday Year contain the same days as the calendar year, but it begins and ends in the heart of the individual, whose birth is worth remembering though no history books applaud him.

For the Birthday Year is about humanity's singular heart, far above the calendar that breaks our lives in parts. It is about this human personality we all share, this amazing Self born everywhere, not just as you or me, but in the form of every brother and sister.

People are the same throughout all time and space. Look closely and you will see October and March appear at once, in the twinkling of an eye, on the town square.

Look with me at all the world's birthday people. Though all are forms of the original human being, each of them adds something new.

See the birthday people of spring--the April thirteenths, the March fourths--keeping the plain year bright with joy. Can you remember a spring person bursting with happy suddenness into December's otherwise dark room?

How about the birthday people of Autumn, whose solemn study instructs the other months? Have you seen them, these October people, these bookish folk stepping out of a September or November, loose pages flapping their years like leaves?

And what about the children of summer, bright with fun the whole year long? Have you met these buzzing June-bug people, these July and August suns, lighting the clouds of winter and fall?

And let's not forget winter's silent caretakers, huddled in coats of safe December, extending peace and refuge to the other months.

So many seasons, so many human beings, yet all alive on the palette of true imagination.

Now tell me: When is your Birthday Year? Does it move within you? Can you bring its--your--special shape and feeling to others, wherever their own seasons may begin and end?

Can you recall it any old day, as I do mine?


© Fred Leeds, June 2007


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