Today is my 36th birthday. Today I will be celebrating by eating many festive foods, including marzipan cupcakes and steak and champagne and pate and fancy popcorn. Today I will stand in the garden and look for flowers that are newly blooming and appreciate all of them, even the ones that are not new, because lots of us here are not new and have been through many parts of life, stretches of our life that—relative to our size & the length of said life—have given us small or large amounts of wisdom, though not enough probably; how wise is the kale curling around the aphids and the kale curling around the heat of the sun, I will, today, wonder, not knowing.

Today I will feel the temperature reach and perhaps exceed one hundred degrees—one! hundred! degrees! in! April!—and I will do my best to feel the encompassing heat and absorb and accept it as I am sometimes able to do during the summer when it is everywhere, everywhere, and everything is heat; and when that becomes too much I will fill up my tiny one-human sized pool with cool water and put my one-human sized me into it and read a book full of many humans, probably.

Today I will think about my niece, who turned nine last week, and was electric and fizzy with joy when I talked to her, fizzy with sugar and pop and the friends who had stopped by to say hi to her from a distance, and so happy she was talking to her shoes and making the shoes talk back to her. Today I will remember how much I loved being nine, how even now at 36 I can remember that appreciation: I knew it was a good age, that my imagination was on fire, that I was able to sit in my friend’s magnificent tree house and feel hidden from reality, and able to love my friends completely, and able to feel utterly safe with my family, and able to imagine the future as good without thinking it would necessarily be or need to be better. Today I will hope that my niece, who literally called me and joyously interrupted the typing of that previous sentence to with me happy birthday—I will hope she has a year that beautiful, or even more so.

Today I will be, along with most of the world, as much in the milky present as possible, perhaps more so than we have been for most of our lives. Today I will think about the future, but also I will lay in this pool of the now, and float in it, and see the sun beating down like a hot heart, and I will be alive, along with everything, including those things that used to be and those that have yet to be, and all the things I do not know of.