Old Friends

To explain the dearth of posting, I had a good friend come out from Seattle to visit me this past week. My recent days were so filled with beer, bicycling, eating and catching-up that I could scarcely find time to post – apologies, faithful readers.

It’s strange – though we hadn’t seen eachother for a half-year, my friend and I picked up as if not a week had passed. The details of our conversation may have been different (new jobs, new music, new toys) but the nature of our interaction was familiar. That’s the best thing about old friends: despite passing into new stages and places in life, we will always know who one another truly is.

And indeed, we have passed into new stages and places; My friend and I talked at length about the separate directions our close friends have taken. One has been traveling and studying art in Europe for the past six months, another lives in an apartment in our suburban hometown, and still another is preparing to fly across the world to visit his lady-friend. Among our group there are aspirations in the fields of natural sciences, politics, photography, education, business, rock-climbing and travel journalism.

Like the land masses birthed from Pangea, each of us has shaped the other, but we have inevitably developed within ourselves and shifted away from our point of origin. Realizing that this change is irreversible is a difficult process, but it is also exciting. My friend reflected as he arrived on how stoked he was that we had entered that stage of life where we must travel to visit each other; it’s an excuse to break away from routine, he said, and means a bed and a friendly face in someplace new.

As the years pass and lives become busier, keeping in touch with old friends becomes more difficult. Anyone who has traveled or studied abroad knows that as we invariably move in new directions, the lines of communication sometimes rust. But it’s important to polish them off and keep track of our old friends – because they will recognize our true selves no matter how much we shift, and because our winding paths will certainly cross again.

Can you imagine us
Years from today,
Sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange
To be seventy.
Old friends,
Memory brushes the same years
Silently sharing the same fears

Simon & Garfunkel, “Old Friends”

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