Shelley packed a bag for the two of us,
My birthday surprise.
Take Marley and Finnegan out to the car and wait, she said.
Nice. Going away for 2 days and I don’t even pack a toothbrush,
I’ve got it all covered, she assured me.
She took us up-island.
On the Malahat before she spilled the beans.
Tofino, she said, one of your favourite places.
Clayoquot Sound, Long Beach,
Old growth Cedar,
Surfers in wetsuits,
Strollers with their dogs,
We sat by the fire,
Drank aged single-malt Connemara whiskey
Took birthday wishes on my iPhone,
Feet up, dogs down,
Playlist of Fleetfoxes, Jets Overhead, Adele…
Shelley did a good job on the bag,
Nice underwear for her,
Three shirts and no pants for me,
Multi-tasking, she rationalized,
Hard enough to keep a secret from you.
We strolled the beach, gazed toward Japan,
Tasted the salt-spray on our faces,
Felt the sand beneath our feet,
Ate dungeness crab,
Cracked them with our teeth.
Threw balls for the dogs
They smiled like puppies,
Wagging their butts
Take us here more often,
They seemed to say.
Drank more Connemara,
Toasted my mom, each other,
Laughed, rinsed sand from dog-hair,
Took photos of trees and sunsets and sand.
Nice thing about age,
The birthdays are getting better.