19th Ave New York, NY 95822, USA

For my 64th birthday, I planned to host a hanami party though all the plum blossoms on the trees in the walled garden behind the casita became hana no yuki beneath the violent landing of multiple butterflies seeking pollen sips.   Then a windstorm arrived and the last spring blossom flurries fell littering the ground with tiny white polka dots.

By the time of my Sunday brunch–spanikopita, tabouli, spring asparagus and new potatoes; dolmas and olives–the trees were greener than floral white.  No matter. The sun was bright and the enamel pots on the deck overflowed with blooming pink petunias.  I concocted lemon/vanilla vodka/pink champagne cocktails and there was room at the table Boo built and on the tahkt for the intergenerational eight who showed up- four over sixty friends and four twenty-somethings.    The afternoon unfolded the way holidays do–shared food and conversation, ever-evolving friendships.

The next day, my actual birthday, Ebrahim and I drove the hour to Ojo Caliente where I  soaked up the minerals in eleven hot pools and turned 64 circles in the one cold pool, an essential memory from each year of my life. The early ones: Easter Sunday straw hats with grosgrain ribbon; after church egg hunts.  I was pulled back to my Ohio childhood.

In shush, a text about two sisters one Ohio summer are juxtaposed with nature photographs of Rock Creek Park in Washington D.C taken by my dear friend C.N.