“We are the night ocean filled
with glints of light. We are the space
between the fish and the moon,
while we sit here together.”
I’m a fortunate person. I have many friends. They range a broad spectrum of ages, shapes, colors, sizes and native tongues. I love them all.
There are friends who I will probably never see again in this life, due to distance, time, and language barriers. We may not even correspond or chat over email. But they will always be dear to my heart, no matter what distance or time passes. There are friends I will always make room to see again. I will travel to find them. They visit from far away, braving our long bumpy road and multiple creek crossings. They refresh my senses with the different experiences and works of their lives.
It’s a great blessing to have friends I have known since we were small children. Our paths may not have stayed parallel, but the time crossed together makes the connection precious.
In the most active sense of the word, I am friends with these Radical Farmwives. My heart is warm today because of the time we have shared.
Robin and Cher and I met up on a fine warm sunny day in the middle of the week for what we enjoy calling a “business meeting”. Here we are, sitting in the creek, watching the kids splash in the sun, the little ducks waddle, the wind blow the high trees. What a great business this is.
We’ve been friends a long time now. Not quite half our lives yet, but rapidly going that way. I feel fortunate to have watched these two remarkable women grow their families, their farms. It’s a joy and inspiration. I’ve learned a lot about friendship in these years we’ve spent in the presence of one another. The comfort we share now is such a beauty. We do not need to be alike to be loved.
In fact, our differences illuminate us. One’s different perspective sheds a much needed light on the other’s struggle. The extrovert encourages the introvert, and vice versa. Face to face we are comforted by the familiarity we’ve grown into. There’s no competition. There’s no fear of sharing the truth of what’s going on for us now. We’re here to support and encourage one another, and to commiserate when needed.
Our similarities feed us, too. The ties that bind us are strong. This time of life we’re in, with growing children and growing businesses, is full to bursting. There are tensions, joys, worries and celebrations, perspectives and opinions. We share the large issues of our times, and the small beauties and challenges of daily life, work, children, family, while we walk and chat by the creek. It’s a relief, a feeding of some basic hunger to share with each other, to just speak about whatever is nighest in our thoughts. Women and men and children have been doing this for all of time. It’s friendship, in person. How wonderful.
One incredible bond that grow stronger by the year is the steady growth of our children. They’ve known each other for as long as they have lived. Robin’s oldest two have the advantage of having lived longer than the rest, but the difference grows less noticeable year by year.
These kids have seen some changes. They’ve held and rocked each other, bothered and teased each other, pushed each other in swings, ridden on the backs of one another’s tricycles and bicycles (we’re not up to motorized age yet – Thanks Heavens!). They’ve taught each other tricks and told each other stories, and some of them are old enough now to remember those stories for the rest of their lives. These children are creating their own culture. Whatever phase of teasing or playing they’re passing through, I believe that our kids have a true, deep, and rare affection for one another. It touches my heart.
When we come home from our meeting and go to work on some weeds in the garden for awhile, Lulah tags along with me, re-capping the day with friends.
“What did you talk about?” She wants to know.
I try to summarize, but that’s not what she wants.
“What did you SAY about it, though?”
I can’t begin to answer that one, so I throw it back to her.
“What about you? What did you kids talk about?”
The answer is never anything ‘talked about’. These are people of action. They DO things together, with great intensity and earnestness, and fun. It takes a long time to tell me what they did. I am often surprised. Then the questions take a different turn.
“Is Madeline home now?” “What do you think Madeline’s doing now?” “What are Ira and Opal doing right now?”
We talk about dinner and how long it takes to get from Bugtussle to Edmonton. Then I look up at the hills and trees, the half moon in the sky. I know that our friends are seeing these glories too. They are in their own beautiful place, with their families, but this same living world surrounds them. The whole human family shares this entire awesome planet. Having friends helps us understand and enjoy that sharing. It does me good to think these things.
Last year, each of our farms went through some changes. And in the nature of those changes, we didn’t see as much of each other. That was awful. But it’s a modern phenomenon; it seems like people don’t visit one another as often as they once did. One of the purposeful effects of this undertaking – the sharing of our lives, Radical Farmwives on-line – is to get us together more often. It takes an exertion, to drive the half-hour or hour-long trip, with excited kids, away from the normal work day. It sometimes seems easier to just stay home.
It’s worth more than any money. I’m pretty sure that if more people spent regular time in the physical presence of dear friends, the world would be a saner and more beautiful place. We’ll do our part, as often as we can.
You try to do yours too, ok?