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The early morning hours of my birthday, I woke up with the cat in one arm-crook and my husband in the other. I could hear them breathe.

The cat often enters the room when I stir, a nearly nightly ritual where I am wakeful and so is she. She leapt on the bed silently, with a tiny thump that is different than my husband's leg when it moves as he dreams.

She often touches my nose, saying hello, and gets as close into me as possible, her fur sweet in my nose. Her low purr (she is a quiet cat) is sometimes a reward for stroking her neck the right way. She gathered up in the crook of my arm, head on my neck, like her life depended on it and I hold her, petting slowly so her rumbling voice will meet my pulse.

He, this man of my life, of 22 years, of past and present and future, lay beside me turned with his face towards mine, one hand on my belly, the other wrapped up in mine.

I rested, between the two, and matched my breathing to his, listening carefully for the cat's little snore, my eyes open in the dusky light wondering about life and what my role in it meant.

The boys, children of ours just halfway grown, were still asleep and the day was ahead. They slept soundly still with the sleep of childhood where the deep deep lets you sink into it and you barely remember dreaming. It's a sleep I envy them, only just a little. The trade off of adult freedom comes often out of sleep.

It was raining a slow steady rain. That felt like something good.

We had spent Friday hiking in a Texas park, not too far out of town, but far enough to feel like forever. The rain kept most travelers away, but it felt to me pristine and pure, water falling on a river, water falling on us, water falling on earth, washing away past and seeding the future.

Friday was Equinox, Friday was New Moon, Friday was Eclipse, Friday was power, and we all walked in the bright green grass, with the gray skies baptizing earth with eternal water, old water, ancient water, and we laughed and shivered and touched each other. We held hands and kissed the rain and laughed at our spontaneous ritual.

Later in that early birthday hour, with me placed perfectly between my bed partners while the rain issued down, thick and rich like honey? That hour was a prayer.

The purring and breathing and raining played in harmony as I drifted into hopes for the new year.

I felt like the luckiest woman on earth.