The weekend was wet and unseasonably chilly, but the underlying scent of spring brought the promise of gleaming sun and warm breezes. Cherry Blossoms and Flowering Dogwoods contrasted the grey morning sky. 

It was our last pastry class and the practical exam led us to the final module in the program. We pressed cool butter with our fingers into a bowl full of flour and rolled a wooden pin across the flaky cream colored dough. We tempered eggs with hot milk to make a custard and artfully placed a rainbow of fruit on our tarts in repetitive circular patterns. I attained a perfect grade on my glistening dessert. A glint of light and a current of air flowed around me. 

Last week I had come to New York not for school but to be by the side of friends that had lost their son. I could feel the sadness they carried, organic and wild.  Before I headed back to Richmond, my sister and I stopped at the cemetery to adorn the grounds holding the memory of our family with spring flowers.  Their names clustered together with dates closely aligned swelled my throat and for a moment I couldn’t breathe. 

Once my classroom studies are done, these structured experiences will no longer guide the way.  It is like a sheet that reads, “This page is intentionally left blank.”  Those to whom I might normally turn for guidance are gone, so I listen for the sound of the swishing branches amid the rain’s steady tapping.  

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