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16 August 2010

New friends and old

I recently had the pleasure of seeing two good friends of mine met in far off places, whom I hadn't seen for over three years. Fishey is a wild Californian buddy, befriended in the wilds of the Wrangell Mountains, Alaska. Many sleepless, sun-filled nights were spent hopping moraine-boulders, creeping across gigantic glaciers, and mountain climbing at a fierce pace. Josh (aka Jaaaaash) is an Indiana Jones-type adventurer, both culturally savvy and down to get dirty. Josh and I became good friends during our four month stay in China, especially during our winter-time exploration of Beijing, which would later become Josh's home.

It is extremely satisfying to see these people again, people who were so important to me during our time together. But as life's journeys pull you away from the people you have met you invariably lose touch. It is impossible to stay in touch with everyone you meet in every place. I used to kick myself for not doing a better job at this, until I decided that it was okay. Intense friendship is strong, and distance and time can only scratch away the surface of this friendship. The deep roots are durable, and the sun and water brought by an unexpected visit or phone call can quickly unfold flowers.

Our lives are bound to intertwine with those we have loved and those we will love in the future. Good people attract good people, and ultimately we will meet old friends once again.

As I prepare to depart for China, now four months off, I've been thinking a lot about the people that are close to me. I lead a busy life and often go for long stretches without seeing or speaking to good friends of mine. It is always warming to see these people again and have only joy for the meeting, instead of regret for the time in between. With my departure imminent, the people are now the priority and the anticipation of seeing so many of my friends once again fills me up.

I have already said goodbye to friends that are moving on to new and exciting lives in different states. Nate, Dave, and Jesse are all moving to different cities in California to pursue varying degrees of study. My good buddy John Axel has graced us with a short return visit from his studies in Italy. Laurel is leaving for Germany. The goodbyes will continue in the months ahead.

And at the same time I continue to meet wonderful new people in mass quantity. Two very special friends of mine, Scott and Akasha, got married this past Saturday. Being the delightful and insightful humans that they are, they had an impressive showing of spectacular folks, family and friends join in the celebration, and I had the pleasure of dancing, partying, eating, drinking, and sporting with many of them. Several weeks ago, two other special people, Jim and Lisa, threw a celebratory party for their union, which had occurred earlier in the summer. I was once again amazed with the sheer kindness and acceptance of their family and friends, and felt truly honored to be present and to meet these great people.

I am leaving this home of eight years with excitement, satisfaction, and gratitude. I have been so fortunate to meet the wonderful people I have in this place, and their friendship will continue to carry me to new places and new adventures. My memory will keep us together, however far our feet take us from each other. I am also confident that I will continue to meet people to cherish, that will enrich my life during our time together, that will care for me and support me, that will challenge me to grow and change and learn.

I plan to do the same for them.