I suspect that most people my age don't get excited about their birthdays anymore.

I do. Birthdays were made much of when I was growing up, and I still regard them as a day on which to feel special.

I had been anticipating my birthday, which was last weekend, for a few weeks. We had planned to go for an ATV ride if the weather was good, and I was looking forward to it like a kid looks forward to opening presents. Each day, I looked at the weather forecast to see if “my day” was going to be fine. As the day approached and the forecast kept looking promising, my excitement mounted.

The day itself was beautiful — sunny, dry and warm — a perfect day for riding. I made us lunch to take along. We gathered helmets, gloves, water bottles and so forth and stowed them in the truck. Got the ATV trailer hitched up and the ATV on it. Tied it down. Checked everything twice.

We got on the road in the late morning, and a couple of hours later were on the trail. I was bubbling over, laughing with excitement to finally be riding for the first time this season. The wind was on my face, the smell of pines and flowers in my nose. It was wonderful.

Because I had the luxury of being a passenger, I could look about me and let my consciousness float up into the blue overhead. I could let the scenery fly by and just drink in the experience — pure joy.

When we got to the edge of the bog about 15 miles down the trail, we stopped for a break. This is one of our favorite spots along the trail, because it's the most likely place to see birds and other wildlife. We saw an osprey as we rode through the bog this time, and a bald eagle. Later on, we saw another osprey and still later a baby osprey in a nest. Coming back, we saw a kingfisher in the bog — the first either of us had seen in the wild.

The kingfisher was especially fun to see, with its distinctive, easily recognizable crest and long, spear-like beak. It was also fun because, for once, I saw it first, not an easy thing to do around sharp-eyed Maureen.

We went farther on this ride than I had ever been on this trail — about 30 miles. When we came to an old, rusty bridge, we stopped for a stretch and a photo and headed back. On the way back, we went faster and stopped less, partly because we knew our dogs were having a long day indoors.

We got back to the parking lot about 4:30 in the afternoon, got the ATV back on the trailer and secured it. But the fun wasn't over yet.

We stopped for an Italian dinner in Belfast that was everything a birthday dinner should be — delicious and fattening.

We got home around dusk and found that, as usual, the dogs did not hold a grudge because we'd left them alone all day. They were ready for petting, a trip outside and dinner.

I had several calls from family members to say happy birthday, and, oh yes, I also got some presents.

It was a wonderful day.