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 be  unconnected. I don’t own a cell phone, a blackberry, mp3 player or a laptop; only accessed email once, didn’t bother watching or listening to the news, clean spam or check blogs.
While I was waiting for travel connections, I parked myself, put the book away 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 know productive words to use to explain the experience of meeting face to face with people you have known online or on the phone, people who call you friend.Â
Blessed. Joyful.  Still not big enough or productive enough.
I don’t know clear words to use because friendship is deeper than relating facts, experiences and emotions, and while I believe words are wonderful things, I fumble and drop them 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 life 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 find where they were staying 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 to meet me. Our hosts were gracious, hospitable, lively and welcomed me warmly.Â

We picked up like we saw each other every week, a post can’t convey that level of trust and comfortableness. I’ve said it before, while I’ve certainly messed up a lot of things in my life, I’ve managed to find incredible friends, or perhaps more honestly, they’ve found me.  Either way, I am grateful and humbled, and wonder if I felt any fuller if I’d burst.
Our conversations 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 certainly 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 Charlene Dash.  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 moments 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 fully present in ‘now’  without thinking back or thinking ahead is a unique kind of freedom.Â

My friends left me with joy, a state of being that is lingering, even with long travel hours, passing time and too little sleep. I am left bubbling over with thankfulness and a sense of wonder that such honest, kind and committed people consider me a part of their lives.  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 consumed with talking about stuff or goods, superficial didn’t have room to play around the edges of our time together.

To experience face to face that we share so much more than blogs will always be a surprise for me, and we have grown, we have changed, and we’ve all been through personal losses and adventures.  Rather than be stuck in losses and fear, I saw growth and depth and a willingness to honour the treasure of our lives with integrity.Â
Darryl and Charlene were  immediately recognizable even after a couple of years, and of course they slid into the merriment and threads of conversations delightfully and with dashing ease.(groan) And though they had another engagement they took time to go out of their way to connect me up with the train, saving me a lot of travel time. It was an opportunity to catch up with their lives a bit. What thoughtfulness. The extra time together was an unexpected 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 well want to.
Heading to the car we had a quick snowball fight, and of course he turned his back just in time to get nailed right at the base of his neck.
As I watched the snow slide into his collar and him 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.