As my birthday approaches, the years that have built up to create this life wind and intersect in my mind. Loops of memory of all these years. Years stack on top of each other and stand side by side, three and thirty-two, six and thirteen, twelve and twenty-four…. and centuries more.

Some memories race, while others saunter in their Sunday best: playing bull in the pen, dandy shandy— we created our own ball with boxes, stones and paper, Emanuel Road (how we broke those rocks), green bows and brown socks, khaki and sweat, Rex– brown fur bristling, flaking patties, sun breaking on our heads, gathering in the hall in white dresses, whiter sand shimmering for miles– spanning oceans, hibiscus closing, red beans still simmering, dancing under flashing lights, body as playground, ploughing fertile land, grilled corn and champagne, glittering, unstoppable snow, the first blue bicycle resting beside the kitchen table, presents on the counter, flashing music videos, TV signing off, singing praisesongs, “Morning has Broken.” Yes, we were valiant “gainst all disaster.

You remember; we walked down roads and crossed seas together. Remember, every birthday, an incredible testament to our survival instinct.

When elders said, “Oh, you children are wise,” didn’t they realize we already had hundreds of years running through our bones? We were “new,” but ancient.

Drums continue for centuries. Every touch of the skin a message, and the remembrance that the body has memory. Fine threads, invisible, but unseverable, holding onto this body. So, on this birthday, many many candles, hundreds of flames, riding an Akan rhythm.