To Make GPA'S Hummingbird Cake…

Preheat the oven. 350 degrees.
Move South until the sun slinks behind the trees, until you hear the lionhearted heat of sound, where the curtain limbs drape towards the earth tones of creeping cricket feet. The cherry mud of summer rain and soil seeps between the bare-footed veins of roots.
Whisk in the white flour of my GiGi, her frosted hair like cotton snow fields. Whisk in the sugar of my Grandma, the salt from my mother. My strings of cinnamon hair, of brown pecan eyes. Stir in pineapples and bananas as yellow as the tips of corn fields, where the kernelled crops would stoop down their necks, their watchful eyes on my sister and I playing below their summer grins.
Stir in the baking soda from my G-Pa and let the cake rise. Let it rise like the watercolor sun over marsh water. Like the fresh bread of autumn, the smells of rosemary and cheese wafting from chimney bottoms. Rise and creek like the bones of my family in my feet and veins. Like how Earth rises to meet the Sky.
Spin cream cheese and butter for the icing. Spin the butter like grandma in the kitchen with her feet a warm orange with bluegrass bass in her whisking hands… hands that with each embrace were as sweet as strawberry tea. And spin the vanilla like my sister and me… dancing, humming little dragonflies. Mix those warm hearts and hot feet together.
The mixer spins, once clockwise. Earth. Another counterclockwise. Sky. The icing should circle like marsh moon tides… pushing and pulling until it's time to divide.
Divide the layers, like Sky meets Earth. And multiply the minutes since pineapples were tips of corn fields. When hair was cinnamon, not cotton. And when feet were as raw as summer blades of grass from spinning too much. Multiply the minutes as the cakes begin to age and cool and the heartbeat of a family threatens to swing to a new bass.
But with every hummingbird cake, heat rises, and with it, the Southern sound of G-Pa's earth tones, growing wild like field peas and peanuts, sunflower music in the air. When it is time to assemble the cakes, stack them on the horizon, like how all things swing low, return in sweet time… return to cherry mud, to bare-footed roots, weaving like veins through cinnamon blood.
Then share. Give like orange peel suns under swinging trees, like cherry feet dancing in summer mud and breeze. Share like boiled peanuts grown from grasses holding hands and cakes rising from kitchen tones of bluegrass pots and pans. Give like dragonflies short and young, just sprouts of beans or corn or pine tree. We plant seeds in gardens that we don't get to see.
So, preheat the oven. 350 degrees.
Move South until G-Pa and GiGi blaze behind the trees, until you hear their lionhearted heat of sound, where the earth tones of hummingbird cake all hold hands to keep the world together.