My personal flavor of propaganda includes rants about a number of things i rarely do including make apologies, capitalize the pronoun i and use towels. On this list is the celebration and generally even the acknowledgment of birthdays. These often feel like obligatory events and i prefer home grown and otherwise inspired ones. When i told Hawina, many years ago, “i dont do birthdays.” She replied “That’s fine, your going to remember mine”
A year ago it was Sara Michel Tansey’s 21st birthday. i barely knew her then, but somewhat uncharacteristically, i was working hard to get her a job offer from NIRS (the anti-nuclear group i volunteer with) by that date. Mary Olsen, who runs the NIRS South East office, had recommended her highly, she was experienced in local organizing against the proposed new reactors in Jenkinsville SC and she was well connected to the youth climate movement. I had also met her briefly at the Carbon Free, Nuclear Free conference in Takoma Park a couple of months earlier and she seemed quirky and fun.
i failed to convince the NIRS Executive Director, my old friend, Michael Marriott to hire her. Which turned out to be one of the luckiest failures of my life.
Fearing that we (in this case the anti-nuclear movement) would loose her to some other cause, i asked Sara to come work on the Villages in the Sky project. i wrote what i thought was an enticing and clever job description and she agreed. Both of us thinking this would be a stepping stone for her to go to NIRS when the money needed to hire her was in hand.
Yesterday was Sara’s 22 birthday, which she celebrated in grand style in the Ozarks on the new zip line at the Villages in the Sky seed camp with her many friends from East Wind. We are 1000 miles apart currently as i am preparing to go to a craft fair in Tarrytown and visiting friends at Ganas Community on Staten Island. Yet we spoke a couple of times and at her request i sang her a song over the phone (the Simon Zealot song from Jesus Christ Superstar – my choice not hers).
As she has with literally scores of people in the last year, she has stormed into my heart and flipped my world view around. This project is inconceivable to me without her in the center of it. But more important that the work is the friendship and intimacy which we have built in the last year. My life is immeasurably richer and fuller for her presence in it.
Happy birthday Sara. Thanks for everything.