I am waiting for the cake to bake.  It is an “apple dapple” cake, full of sugar, fruit, and nuts.  This morning was wonderfully cool when I opened the front door for my dog.  The rose and azalea I transplanted yesterday looked happy; in fact they both bloomed this morning!  As I went back inside, I remembered it is a birthday today that I rarely forget.

We were together only 18 months, back in the good old days, when I had not a care in the world, or at least should not have had.  He was a dynamo, so full of energy that I felt like a slug around him.  He saw something in me that compelled him to chase me down and he succeeded in catching me.  He did not know what he was taking on, but little phased him;  he seemed fearless.  Had I accepted his marriage proposal after knowing each other a week, we would have been married 46 years.  However, as I was never, apparently, marriage material, he and I did not last even two years, but I always remember him in the spring and in the fall, my two favorite seasons.  Today is his birthday and I am baking him a cake, dreaming that a long-awaited visitor will arrive and I may serve tea and cake.

I am waiting for the cake to bake, so that I can take it from the oven to cool.  I will then put on my gardening threads and go to the garden.  I have sixteen tomatoes to put in the ground, now that it has warmed up.  I also have some eggplant, basil, peppers, and cilantro to plant.  Before I put anything in the ground, I have to clear away the weeds that stayed through winter and are taking over the garden, since I did not mulch last fall, as I should have done.  It is not an easy job, getting rid of weeds.  I hope to find hay soon, plenty of it, with which to mulch everything and have enough left for the fall and winter, when the garden is “put to bed.”  I tend to not take my gardening seriously enough, yet with each new year, I wish to have something better laid out than the year previous.  Maybe it is my old age setting in.  I like less and less my inconsistencies, my lackadaisical approach to my own life.  I sense it is shorter with each new morning, and I feel there is much I still would like to learn, to do.

I am waiting for the cake to bake.  Only another twenty minutes left before I pull it from the oven.  Meanwhile, outside my windows, the tall trees’ leaves rustle in the gentle breeze, the leaves that only ten days ago were just budding, light green and tender.  This spring is lovely, slower in its blossoming than last year.  The dogwoods burst forth throughout the county, prolific, their white blossoms brilliant, lifting any heart that could see.  The birds sing, music to my ears.  The quiet, with all the sounds of nature, is soothing, caressing my heart and soul.

I am waiting for the cake to finish baking.  Happy birthday, you whom I did not see clearly, you who gave me so much in the short time I knew you.  Today is another birthday, a new beginning, and at the close of this longer day, I will sit in my chair, my body taxed from the work I will do, content to relax and remember how blessed it is to be alive, to know what I know, to love as I do, alone in my solitude.  No more waiting, the cake is done.

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