Friday, August 17, 2007

Friends of the Road (And Friends of the Heart)

You might be tempted to skip the quote below, since it makes this entry a little on the long side. But, I wouldn't do that if I were you. The quote is probably the best part of the whole entry.

Why do friendships come and go? How does a once-bosom buddy wind up erased from your address book? Is a friendship that fades away necessarily a bad thing?

My first inkling that some friendships are meant to be fleeting came in the spring of my senior year of college. My friendships there had been especially intense. We’d bonded instantly and tightly, with meandering all-hours conversations about everything from the meaning of life to ‘What will we wear tonight?’ Once I came across a line that seemed to express perfectly my 21-year-old angst. It was from the novel Centennial: ‘He wished he could ride forever with these men, . . . But it could not be. Trails end, and companies of men fall apart.’

Of course! Some friendships are meant to be transitory. Like cowboys who had ridden herd together for miles, sharing dusty perils and round-the-campfire coffee, my college friends and I had come to the natural end of our path together. It was time to move on.

Absurdly obvious, the idea was nevertheless enormously comforting. It had once seemed like failure to me, to build a friendship only to have it squelched by sudden distance, either physical or emotional. You move across the country and struggle to replicate daily long walks with phone calls or letters. Or one of you has a baby, and the minutiae of changing diapers transform the bicycle-built-for-two that was your friendship into a lopsided three--legged stool.

And that’s okay. Because in addition to our friends of the heart-the traditional, everlasting ideal-life is rich with friends of the road who, like James Michener’s cowpokes, herd with you for a particular stretch and no farther. These brief friendships are equally intense, equally necessary, equally worth treasuring as any other, and for the duration of that ride you can’t survive without them.

-Paula Spencer in (where else?) Readers Digest

(Perhaps I should see if I can make some kind of monetary arrangement with Readers Digest. Heaven knows I mention them enough on this blog!)

Tayneshia in Paris

The quote above is one of my favorites. I found it years ago, and from time to time (especially when I feel that my friendships are being shaken up) I'll read it and it comforts me.

I can use the comfort at the moment, because I have two dear friends who will be moving within the next week. Yuck, yuck, yuck. (But, really, what can you do? Life moves on, and we all move on with it. That's the way things go, and it's probably for the best that way. But I don't have to like it today now, do I?)

I could go on about how I met Tayneshia and how I met Katerina, and the great times I've had with each of them, but it would probably take more time than I have to write, and more time that you have to read. So, I'll just say that I met them both, and we've had great great times together.

Katerina and I at a Chilean Deli in Salt Lake City

Next Friday Tayneshia will head home to Houston where she will be able to be closer to her big, loud, somewhat-obnoxious-but-mainly-just-a-lot-of-fun family, and Katerina will be going back to Idaho where she will be living in a home with a guest room (she was sure to tell me of that benefit) and filling the minds of young elementary schoolers.

And I'll be staying here with Eric.

I'll miss them both terribly, and I secretly hope that they will miss me as well. But, when all is said and done, the three of us will continue to be basically happy, and we'll each make new friends, and have new experiences. And we're surely all the better for having laughed together for a while.

That's what I think, anyway.


Jodi said...

You really are an amazing writer. You always manage to articulate thoughts that have been stuck in my heart and mind. They come out so full and bright. I may have to start saying in my blog "see Charlotte's Blog" to adequately get my point across. You're communication skills are stupendous!

Dishboy said...

I really like that quote (and to think I almost skipped it even with your advice not too). I have a lot more friends of the road than I have friends of the heart and I really miss most of them dearly.

Jeri said...

AMEN to Jodi's comment - this is beautifully said. (I guess Reader's Digest gets some of the credit for this one... but still a beautiful sentiment)

Jennie said...

how fun to have great friends!

was that kristy? i miss her? please tell her that i say hi!

Laura said...

Love this Charlotte....the quote is definitely worth the time.
Well crafted- good thoughts.
Glad I checked in.
Peace- La

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