just in from a birthday bonfire tonight. A gathering of people on benches and plastic chairs drinking box wine and lemonade, eating yellow cake with icing made from granular sugar because we don’t have powdered, and a tofu vegan “cheesecake” scooped out of the pan with a spoon as it’s passed around the circle. Guitar music constantly in the background as conversations continue, the music sometimes emerging as primary focus, especially when it’s an improvised song for the birthday co. (“Co” is our gender-neutral word that is supposedly a pronoun used instead of “he or she”, but is often used also to signify a person whose gender doesn’t really matter in this circumstance)

I sat on a bench lazily stroking a friend’s head, while someone else rubbed my back lightly, and I looked up at the stars and the moon, and I felt the heat from the fire and the chill of the early autumn air, and I listened to my friends playing songs that I vaguely know, and I felt calmly blissful. It wasn’t ecstatic bliss that had me arching my back or my eyes lit from within; it was a quiet and still bliss, content and centered. Quiet joy, quiet beauty of Life.

I’m happy here.

I appreciate the opportunity to share with these people on such a deep level. Tonight we celebrated by sharing songs and sweets, after a day of sharing responsibilities and labor. And tomorrow I’ll work in the garden to harvest food for our meals while other people from the same bonfire circle will make tofu to earn money to pay our car insurance, and our medical bills. Every day we create more shared experience with each other, and that deepens our connection with every moment shared.