So rarely in adult life do you find a new friend so true to the course of who you are and who you will be. It happened to me five years ago, and I didn’t even know it at the time.
It was such an innocuous meeting. April was sitting in the dark cave of a night club transformed for a poetry reading during Aspen Summer Words and I, having left my then-husband and baby son to wander the town of Aspen on their own, arrived alone, daringly, elegantly, excited to hear the words of someone who cared enough about words to share them.
I sat and she was near and she said hello and, in our society today, while most people might not respond, I did and with a smile. We got to talking and I don’t know what it was, or the content of the words, or really anything other than that setting and that week, but something broke open and we both hugged it to us and soon enough, we were friends.
When you meet someone in circumstances like that and then leave for your real life (which, for me, led to a divorce the next fall, single motherhood, a new business, a whole new life than what I could have imagined back in June), you leave the chance meetings behind.
Not April. Somehow, we have kept in touch all this time – sometimes frequently, sometimes sporadically – but still, in touch, friends, enjoying each other. And it has been genuine.
So much so that last spring, when we were preparing to go to Colorado for the Adventure Rabbi Rosh Hashanah, April and her Jewish partner Amy decided to join us.
On the eve of our Jewish new year, we sat in a tent at a round table, as if a family: me, Dan, three of our children, my mother-in-law, April and Amy. We took up the whole table, a family of our own.
We sat around the campfire late both nights sipping wine and talking as the kids roasted marshmallows in the flames. We sat beside each other at services, rapt and thinking about, again, the words.
It is so rare to find a friend among the feathers on the wind and hold onto her so she doesn’t fly away. Over the distance, over the years, over the gaps and the silences, relationships ending and beginning, we have remained friends – probably even moreso today than way back at that chance meeting.
It reminds me that life is full of surprises, that every word, every interaction, every smile shared is proof of our purpose on earth: to find meaning, to build relationships, to show love, to heal the world.