I’m back. Sort of, still a bit sleep deprived and fuzzy, it feels like I spent more time on trains than I did on the ground.:^)
It was interesting to be in one of the largest cities in North America and to beÂ unconnected. I don’t own a cell phone, a blackberry,Â mp3 playerÂ or aÂ laptop; only accessed email once, didn’t bother watching or listening toÂ the news, clean spam or check blogs.
While I was waitingÂ for travelÂ connections, I parked myself, put the book awayÂ and people watched.
Being unconnected has it’s pleasures, and being unconnected in a city is quite different than choosing to live off the beaten path.Â
What a great trip.
I don’t knowÂ productive words to useÂ to explainÂ the experience of meeting face to face with people you have known online or on the phone, peopleÂ whoÂ call you friend.Â
Blessed. Joyful.Â Still not big enough or productive enough.
I don’t knowÂ clear words to use because friendshipÂ isÂ deeper than relating facts, experiences and emotions, and while IÂ believe words are wonderful things, IÂ fumble and drop themÂ easily when people occupy such a big place in my heart, and carve out even a bigger place just by being themselves.
Rachel and Regan stayed with long time real lifeÂ friends, and I hopped another train to make the final leg of the journey to meet them. Upon arrival I phoned, got a business answering machine and decided to just try to findÂ where they were stayingÂ on my own. So I hopped over snowbanks to get to a main street I figured would send me in the general direction. And there they were, they’d gotten the message and had come toÂ meet me.Â Our hostsÂ were gracious, hospitable, lively and welcomed me warmly.Â
We picked up like we saw each other every week,Â a post can’tÂ convey thatÂ level of trust and comfortableness. I’ve said it before, while I’veÂ certainly messed up a lot of things in my life, I’ve managed toÂ find incredible friends, or perhaps more honestly,Â they’ve found me.Â Either way, I am grateful and humbled, and wonder if I felt any fuller if I’d burst.
Our conversationsÂ flowed through all kinds of topics, and the silences were friends silence, not the awkward silences I’ve experienced at times in getting to know someone. We didn’t talk a lot about blogging and bloggers and the past, there were so many ranges of interest, we certainlyÂ weren’t at a loss.
Rachel and Regan had a plane to catch so we headed closer to the airport and met up with Darryl and CharleneÂ Dash. Â Darryl has found better words than I’m able to. I’m acutely aware of being in special moments with friends, I’m also aware in those momentsÂ of how quickly time flies, and while I’m sure we all could have talked for days, I didn’t leave feeling things were left unsaid. Being fullyÂ presentÂ in ‘now’Â Â without thinking back or thinking ahead is aÂ unique kind of freedom.Â
My friendsÂ left me with joy, a state of being that is lingering, even with long travel hours, passing timeÂ and too little sleep. I am left bubbling overÂ withÂ thankfulness and a sense of wonder that such honest, kind and committed people consider me a part of their lives.Â Â Â
We agreed joyfully, we disagreed graciously, we shared honestly; life doesn’t get much better than that, at least not for me. We weren’t consumedÂ with talking about stuff or goods, superficial didn’t haveÂ room to play around the edgesÂ of our time together.
ToÂ experience face to face thatÂ we share so much more than blogs will always be a surprise for me, andÂ we have grown, we have changed, and we’ve allÂ been through personal losses andÂ adventures.Â Rather than be stuck in losses and fear, I saw growth and depth and a willingness to honourÂ theÂ treasure of our livesÂ with integrity.Â
Darryl and Charlene wereÂ immediately recognizable even after a couple of years, and of courseÂ they slid into the merriment and threads of conversations delightfully and with dashing ease.(groan)Â And though they had another engagement they took time to go out of their way to connect me up with the train,Â saving meÂ a lot of travel time.Â It was anÂ opportunity toÂ catch up with their livesÂ a bit. What thoughtfulness. The extra time together was an unexpectedÂ gift.
Rachel got her maple syrup, Regan got his snow.
Wow, did he get his snow.
While I am left with lifelong memories of our time together, there is one I shall keep just to chuckle at any time I jolly wellÂ want to.
Heading to the car we had a quick snowball fight, and of course he turned his back just in time to get nailedÂ right at the baseÂ ofÂ his neck.
As I watched the snow slide into his collar and himÂ laugh and scramble to shake it off, I apologized.
A moment of absolute dishonesty on my part.
I’m not at all sorry.
Not one bit.;^)
God speed on the rest of your journey and thanks for making mine so unforgettable.