I’m so lucky to have a birthday that falls on the threshold of spring,

 when all of nature is bursting into a song of welcome. This year, I was so busy with the birthing of the littlest one, nearly four weeks early, that at first I thought I had no time to celebrate.

 But I’m glad I did, with a simple dinner for some old friends, most of whom live in my neighbourhood.

 They brought food, flowers and the gift of their good company. As we ate, someone suggested that they all share in turns the story of how they first met me.

 Much hilarity broke forth, because I have lived an adventurous life and so have my friends. They all had colourful tales to tell, as bright as the flowers they brought.

 Some of them have known me for thirty years or more. Our friendships have flowered and have kept on flowering with every spring.

After they left, and the house was silent once more, I was left with my reflections. For nearly two weeks spring perfume has filled my living room, and the sound of my friends’ laughter has reverberated from every corner.

‘We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet.
‘Even longer,’ Pooh answered.
—A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh