Jan 01, 2023
8 mins read
Note: Before we begin, I'd like to make it known that this was an intuitive story reading and I was given permission to share it publicly. Thank you, Trenia, for the honor of channeling this for you! Also, dear reader, there is a special recipe at the end for you.
It was late morning when Abileen Bridges—best known as Miss Abi—noticed the stranger at her gate. A hot cup of tea in her hands, Abi peered out the window at the woman with wavy honey-colored hair, a face made for smiling, and a boho blouse and skirt that suggested a Mexican heritage. She seemed hesitant to approach, gently twisting her fingers together as she raised and lowered her gaze.
Miss Abi shooed her goats Samson and Sugar off to one side as she opened the front door and gave the woman a grin. “Come in, come in!” It was not out of the ordinary for the library witch to have unexpected visitors. “Come have some tea, I just took the kettle off.”
The woman, who quickly introduced herself as Trenia, accepted a hot mug graciously.
“I was just getting ready to make cupcakes for the library bake sale,” Abi said after a few minutes, and she ran her hands down the front of her long apron. “I’d love your help. Come outside with me?”
Trenia nodded, set the now-empty mug on the table, and followed her host into the little garden beside the cottage. She watched as Miss Abi knelt in the dirt and began to pull up carrots. “Could you fetch me that basket over by the steps?” Trenia did so, but didn’t speak. Her cheeks were flushed, and she fidgeted absently with the edges of her sleeves.
“It’s okay if you’re not sure what to say, or where to start,” Abi reassured her. “You’ve come here with questions that don’t quite have words yet. I feel them. Help me with these cupcakes and I think you may find some answers.”
Her visitor seemed to relax at this, and nodded with a small smile playing around her lips.
The basket was filled quickly with carrots—”There’s something beautiful about starting from absolute scratch, right from the earth”—and they went back inside where Miss Abi pulled out a countertop grater and began rinsing off the carrots. She piled them up as she went, and asked Trenia to start grating them on the large wooden cutting board she had set out.
“That’s the trick to making the cupcakes dense and moist, you see. Grating them by hand. It’s the effort and love that go into it, right from the beginning.”
After about three carrots, Trenia yanked her hand back with a gasp. She’d nicked her knuckle on the grater. Abi quickly turned on the faucet and guided her to the cold water, then dumped the grated carrots into the trash bin. “In baking, as in life, sometimes there is pain and sometimes you have to start over.” She handed Trenia a bandage for her finger, washed the cutting board and grater, and motioned for her to continue grating.
While Trenia was busy with the carrots, Miss Abi began to gather the other ingredients. “Sugar for sweetness and salt for balance. Allspice and cinnamon for warmth. Oil for ease, baking soda for lift, and flour and eggs to bind it all together.” She winked at her guest. “Everything has a purpose, you know! Baking is its own kind of spell-craft.”
She placed a large bowl on the counter and fished a wooden spoon out of a drawer of various utensils. As they mixed all the components together and carefully poured the batter into cupcake tins, she said, “Without a container, whether it’s the mixing bowl or a baking pan, all you’ll have is a mess. Everything needs a space to be held, like the bowl… and a purpose and direction, like these tins. I could have used a round tin, or a heart shaped tin, or a bundt tin, or a loaf tin. But I chose cupcakes, because that is their purpose. These? These are meant for sharing. And nothing shares better than cupcakes.” Then, placing it into the oven and setting a timer, she poured them two fresh cups of tea and the two women sat back down at the kitchen table.
Abi looked pensive for a moment, considering what she had just said. “Money does best with a container like a savings account or a piggy bank, and a direction like a vacation or just a rainy day.” Trenia nodded and listened attentively. “People do best when they are safe and held, free to be themselves without pretense, and when they have a purpose to act on and feel proud of. And relationships, too. They need a container and direction– a mutual understanding of what it is and what’s expected.”
Sugar butted her chair suddenly and Miss Abi chuckled, patting the goat’s eager little head. “Even Samson and Sugar do best when they are safe in the yard or the house, and they know what’s expected of them.” She grinned at Trenia and added, “Even if Sugar doesn’t always follow the rules.”
The scent of carrot cake was beginning to waft through the room and both women sniffed appreciatively. And finally Trenia spoke. “Thank you. You were right, I wasn’t sure what to say or what to ask, but I think you heard my heart.”
The timer went off and Miss Abi grabbed a teal and purple oven mitt to pull the cupcakes out, testing them with a toothpick to make sure they were cooked through. “You’re quite welcome, querida. I had a feeling you would take what you needed from this process. Now we just need to let these cool. I made the cream cheese frosting earlier, and oh, it just tops these treats off perfectly! We all deserve that extra bit of indulgence now and then, don’t you think?”
Samson had managed to crawl up into Trenia’s lap and make himself comfortable, and she was stroking his fur with one hand and drinking her tea with the other. “Absolutely,” she agreed. Something about this visit—the garden, the cottage, the tea, the goats, the cupcakes, and especially this interesting woman in her neo-Victorian dress, long apron, and disheveled curls—had settled something into place within her.
Many hours later found her waving goodbye from the gate, stocked up for her journey with a basket of cupcakes, a thermos of hot tea, a few butterscotch scones, some goats milk soaps, and a half dozen tamales. She’d traded the recipe for that of the carrot cake and they’d made some together for an early supper. Miss Abi had invited her to stay for the night, but Trenia had insisted she was ready to move on. “I’ve got a long way to go, and I’m feeling more motivated and inspired than I have in a long time. It’s a beautiful evening, the breeze is warm and the stars are bright. Thank you so much for today. It has truly been a pleasure, mi amiga.”
“That it has,” said Miss Abi, as Sugar shoved her head out from behind Abi’s skirts and bleated her agreement as well. “Good luck and fair travels. Listen to your heart, querida, it knows where it’s going.” And she waved until she could no longer see the woman’s silhouette against the trees.
P.S. This was Trenia's response when she received her story:
“Wow.... It's all fantastic but that line at the end. ‘The heart knows where it's going…’ That line was my third confirmation!! Thank you doesn't suffice. I can absolutely feel and envision this whole story. Your intuition nailed it.”
P.P.S. This story incorporates my "super secret family recipe" for carrot cake that my mother long insisted stay a secret. She's gone now, so too bad-- I believe sweet things and magic are both meant to be shared, so if you'd like to make my "super secret" carrot cake, here's the recipe:
Hand grate 4 cups carrots and set aside.
Mix together in a large bowl:
2 c sugar
1 ½ c veg oil
Sift together in a second bowl:
2 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp allspice
2 tsp cinnamon
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.
Stir in grated carrots.
Bake in greased and floured cake pan @ 350°F for 40 minutes.
(If making cupcakes, lower the baking time to around 25 minutes then check with toothpick. Keep in mind ovens vary, so keep an eye on them.)
Mix together til smooth:
8 oz package of cream cheese
¼ lb (1 stick) butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
Slowly add 1 lb + powdered sugar (more or less according to your preferences and frosting’s consistency) and beat til smooth.