This morning’s walk was especially quiet and I had the park to myself for the most part. I observed a gentle quiet rain casting a gray mist over the trees and grasses. I walked without an umbrella (but you all know that already) and spied a woodpecker, several small bunnies, and just a few ducks and seagulls. I always find it humorous that the water creatures are not to be found in the rain. Maybe they only like getting their feet wet. I had actually brought them some bread, a holdover from my childhood days of feeding the ducks in Central Park. I left it for them to find, once the sun came out.
It is a reflective, albeit celebratory Monday, as this is my (and my FHB’s) wedding anniversary. The actual day was bright and sunny and dry and very, very ,very happy. We were surrounded by lots of love ,with family and friends as they shared the public acknowledgement of our promise to keep one another safe and secure, in the best of times and worst of times. This promise still endures, gratefully.
Anniversaries are somewhat bifurcated in their existence. There are the ones where we remember the wonderful events in our lives that evoke smiles and stories and a sense of reliving the moments that we hold close to our hearts. We hold them up as the highlights of our perennial calendars, as special joyful times. And then, there are the anniversaries that challenge us. They are equally in our memories as the reliving of often our darkest moments. These anniversaries often become pervasive, as the weeks and days prior to their arrival, are often fraught with feelings that we are unsettled, and irritable, angry, and sad, but our awareness is not as apparent, until suddenly we recognize why we are unhappy and more. They may be personal or collective, and we each process them in our own fashion, in our own timeframe.
As we age, we have more of both types to reconcile in our life’s ledger. It is when we get off balance that it becomes very hard to stay in the present. Sometimes the past moments out-shadow the present, and we must decide whether we are, in that moment, going to be pragmatic or optimistic. In my moments of “What to do? What to do?”, I tend to bake. I have found that baking is decisive, analytical, scientific and gets me positive results about 99.9944% +/- most of the time. I am not a precise person by nature, and not always good about waiting, but baking tends to bring me an outcome that I know will be restorative and pleasing. It is also something that is based in genetic memories of those women in my past who baked as a symbol of nurturance and tradition. Baking requires one to be present or the results may not be the outcome you are looking for. As I bake brownies, it is my mother who guides me. Kneading dough is something my grandmother did and almond crescents were something a loving neighbor made with precision and love. I can evoke those memories as well as the aroma of anticipation. My baking creations are then given away to others, to provide some sustenance (and usually not of the low calorie kind) and fills me with contentment and then I go on with my days. It rights me. It’s the connection to the present that sustains me.
When I think back to my wedding day, I know that many of the people who were with us that day are not around anymore. I remember the feeling of joy not only within myself, but that it was quite palpable in others. I remember the cake, which I did not bake, but was so beautiful. I am smiling as I type this. And now, what to do…..bake something to give to my FHB that says I am thinking of you, always and that will taste good now, because that’s really all we have for the moment.