Perhaps it is because I have just celebrated the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. Perhaps it is because another birthday is sneaking up on me.
Perhaps it is because the summer in Victoria has been so glorious.
Or perhaps it is all of these things or none of them at all!
I have been musing about friendship.
My young granddaughter was lonely when her 'best friend' moved to a new city last year, although her sadness was mostly overcome by a new best friend made at her week-long biking class. Now that kindergarten has begun, new friends and their birthday parties will shift the terrain once again. It's not that she will forget those earlier friends, they will likely remain loved in her memory. It's more that in her five- year-old life there are many opportunities to meet and connect with other children- at school, in the park and at gymnastics or art class.
For me, from the other side of seventy, friendship sometimes has funny quirks. Some of my dear friends have no shared pasts with me.
Walking from a movie at Cinecenta a few weeks ago, after seeing a film set in the Eastern Arctic, I only then discovered that my friend and movie-partner had spent several of her teenage years living in Inuvik.
We are friends in our adult selves.
Another woman, who I knew casually 30 years ago in Duncan, has more recently reappeared in my life. Although living farther apart now, our connection has deepened and increased in its significance. We knew each other when our kids were in primary school, yet, even with this history, we are truly bonded by who we are now.
With another friend, I wander in downtown Victoria, checking out the shops and talking politics and tech hints over coffee. Our friendship is new.
My dearest friend is my husband. Brian sees me as I am; who I dare to be when I'm cranky, un-groomed or sad. He embraces my power, and, in fact, sees beauty in it. He is the first person who ever told me that I was beautiful. And he tells me again so that I will really hear him.
There are other friends too. Women I reach out to when I look for vibrant conversation, a walk around the chip trail at Henderson or for comfort when life seems to sit heavy on my shoulders. A caring friend who includes me into her circle to celebrate holidays, and my artist friend with whom I delve into colour, composition and mood. We may not visit or talk often, still I hold these women close.
The common thread with these special people seems to be that we can be together without needing to pretend. I am safe with these friends. We find time for each other despite busy schedules. With these friends, my voice is heard and I truly listen to what is said; we are constantly learning from one another.
Ziad K Abdelnour wrote 'As we grow older, we realize that it is less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones.'
I particularly like Samuel Coleridge's description of friendship, saying it
'is like a sheltering tree.'
I imagine the roots growing deep in the earth and the canopy of leaves keeping off the sun's glare. The tree is home to many species, living together, mostly in harmony.