I recently promised to get in touch with all the people whose letters and calls I have not answered over the past couple of years. The pandemic made many of us feel at a loss when it came staying in regular contact. I know I am not the only one who hesitated to write when all they had to say was:
I hate COVID. I’m scared and I am tired of being cooped up. I want my old life back!
Well, now that my daily routines are returning somewhat, I want to re-connect and it seems others also want that.
But I must say I feel bowled over by the number of birthday greetings I received yesterday. Thank you to everyone who made my birthday extra-special by phoning, writing messages, commenting on my blog, on Facebook, sending e-cards or coming by my house. And this got me reminiscing about friendship.
A lovely part of my friendships is how they tweak my memory. I am in regular contact with a dear woman who has ben my friend since we met in Grade One. When her message appeared on my screen yesterday, I thought of her at six, and how she looks now. I see the same smile and the anticipation in her eyes. She listens with her whole face, even her chin is alert. Images of our past exploits came flooding back. When I read her words, for a few moments, I could see us making frenzied dashes around the playground or exchanging angst-filled teenage confidences. I have admiration for her accomplishments. Her friendship is as bracing as a cup of her strong tea and as cozy as sitting in her kitchen.
Hearing from her and from other people I have not been in touch with for quite some time, gives me deep satisfaction. I know my feelings are still reciprocated and I look forward to an occasion when we can re-connect.
I met many of my friends while traveling, and these friendships are some of my most vividly-remembered. I love the thrill of discovering a new place and the taste of exotic foods. I shake my head when I recall the increasing weight of the suitcases and backpacks that we helped each other keep sight of in bus stations and on train platforms. I met one of my greatest friends at the Lima airport at dawn. I also feel happy to have introduced many of my travel friends to the Mexico I know well, and love profoundly, despite its many problems.
I deeply treasure my immediate and extended family. We go back to before we took our first breaths, and that is something to be incredibly grateful for. I have a friend who is adopted and once she told me that when she looked at her new-born daughter for the first time, she thought – this is the only person I have ever met who shares my DNA – isn’t that a profound thought? It does not matter that my siblings, aunties and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins, or my precious granddaughter don’t share every waking minute with me. Our bond just IS.
Then there are friends I’ve met through creative pursuits, like fellow authors that I admire and who have been so generous with their advice, contacts and experience. My readers validate my work and that too releases a flood gratitude. It humbles me every time I receive a compliment about my writing because I know that what I write comes from a special source. Some call it their muse, true voice or inner consciousness. I think my inspiration comes from everywhere and everything I have ever experienced or imagined. Remembering my friendships helps me to put it all into words.
The friends with whom I share art with are unique. We have such fun together. We flatter and help each other, in a soulful sense. Notes or phone calls from members of my painting community make me feel like I have a paint brush in my hand. It’s like being a kid again.
I adore music and I greatly admire musicians. I can’t imagine how my musical friends manage to manipulate and arrange just 12 notes into an infinite number of compositions. One of my most accomplished musician friends can play l-o-n-g and very complicated pieces from memory. I ask him how he remembers the notes? He says he doesn’t remember, he SEES the mucic. How? And how in the first place, do they learn to play their instruments? This is a gift I was not born with and to me it is magic. Another musical friend sent me a link yesterday that was pure delight.
I am a dreamer. I spend a lot of time in my own head. I think about all kinds of off-the-wall stuff, but mostly I think about all of you – my friends near and far – and I am grateful I know you. Thank you again for taking the time yesterday to send me birthday greetings and best wishes for my continued good health and happiness.
This blog post is a start – YOU are in my heart – I will write to YOU soon.