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A birthday road trip to escape the dratted fog

My birthday falls in January, the coldest, gloomiest time of year — unless I'm writing from a little grass shack on Kauai wearing a grass skirt and coconut shells, which I'm not.

Some pragmatic types and doctors would remind me that, as I age, fog is appropriate for my birthday. I disagree.

I promise not to dwell on fog here. I don't need to remind anyone that it floats among us, day after day, like a suffocating blanket of doom, or that it belongs in only two places, the coast and London.

And, apparently, between the ears of select politicians.

After all, most of us bottom-feeders have only to peek through the curtain crack to see little or nothing beyond our driveway, a sure indicator of fog presence. I won't belabor the irritating rub when those who reign above it all passively remark what a glorious, sunny day it is, rubbing our noses in it as if they didn't know good and well that we're hacking it out in the muck.

OK, all right, enough. And yet, there is a birthday in the offing — a seeming incongruity. I could escape to Butte Falls. Or even up Hillcrest. Though it looks and feels like Mars here in Eagle Point, a warming sun is well within reach.

When my daughter, Emily, was little, with a post-fog birth date, I delighted in planning theme parties for her. During her dolphin phase, decor was decidedly under-the-sea, with a cake made to resemble a sunny beach with smiling sun and leaping dolphin butter cookies.

Horse phase meant a gathering of little pardners at a corral for horseback rides and a cake with tiny plastic horses, fencing and a little trail. Because I'm not a cake decorator by trade, I took pictures for later proof — when I'm (much) older and Emily has to fluff my pillow and bring me a snack. I'll reminisce and pull out the parade of the cakes for leverage.

I heartily believe in celebrating birthdays. Every year holds undiscovered meaning and purpose to me. And, despite an atmosphere of the undead that surrounds us (I didn't say the f word), I've decided to do something different this year, to turn the humdrum around. I've decided to embrace my winter-born roots and turn reality on its head. I enjoy doing that to reality. Just ask the boys (my cats).

I decided on a coastal getaway because, ironically, our Oregon coastline is showing its irresistible, summertime face of late. It was 70 degrees in Brookings today. A weather person looked right at me and chuckled when she said it. I took it as a sign. Besides, festing it up with slugs on the beach can only highlight how spry I am in comparison. Pretend I didn't use the word "spry" there. That's a word reserved for 90-plus-aged celebrants who still dance the merengue with a rose between their teeth.

I'm not "spry" yet. I'm active.

Plus, I should have plenty of time to learn the merengue. But I'm at the age where the television's suggestions that I need certain geriatric contraptions (words from my parents' generation seem to be flying to the fore) trigger annoyance, compel me to remind Pat Boone that I'm not there yet, and to press the mute button hard and often. That's what I get for loving old reruns.

Valley fog isn't mightier than my Honda. I'll motor to the coast for my birthday. When I get there, if a shroud obscures Highway 101, and I can only hear the gulls and surf and smell the fresh, ionized air, it will be more than enough. At least the fog will be in its rightful place, and I can enjoy the salted breeze through my hair and feast on salmon and birthday cake.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer who works from a 1900 farmhouse in Eagle Point. Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com.