In mid-May, I am going to Paris to see a childhood friend. She lives in Vienna right now and we want to meet up, spend time walking, talking, and seeing where we have wandered since we last spoke. We have been friends since sometime after second grade, when we decided it was better to be friends than rivals after we fought for the friendship of a mutual playmate from Japan, Noriko. While Noriko was in the US, the three of us played happily. When she returned to Japan, my friend and I missed her desperately, but the friendship between the two of us has been both steady and fluid ever since. It has weathered elementary school blisters on our palms from the monkey bars, middle school track and the smell of cafeteria food, driving lessons and formal dances in high school, the wandering twenties, changing families, homes, states, and countries.
Last week, as we finalized our plans and I got my train ticket to Paris, I counted: there were 32 days until the trip. 32 days until I would slip away for the weekend and see someone who has known me through all the shifting contexts of my life. In my journal, I quickly wrote down 32 words. To mark the days until my trip, I decided that each morning, I would choose one randomly, write about it for 5-30 minutes, and let that word be a bellwether for the day. At the end of the day, I might add one last thought.
Here are my words: green, light, hope, acceptance, ease, stumble, smooth pebble, strong, deep, outside, inside, intuitive, listen, breathe, rest, trust, courage, support, respond, reset, clear, in-tune, resonate, buzz, smile, leap, joy, exhale, inhale, story, bells, quiet.
So far, I’ve had courage, smooth pebble, leap, and deep. These are my day’s end thoughts for each:
Courage – Doing something new always takes courage. Even if it’s a simple action with desirable results, it still takes courage.
Smooth pebble – When you stand on a bridge over a river and toss in a handful of worries, some will float and some will sink.
Leap – Frogs, deer, lords, dancers, faith, willingness, jumping in a forward direction.
Deep – I don’t believe the opposite of deep is shallow. Perhaps it is fast or dense or noisy.
Who has known you always? And how many words will you explore until you meet again?