Once I traveled with a fellow birder and truly, I came within a hair’s breadth of suffocating her with a pillow. The only reason I didn’t was because she was hogging all the pillows over in her bed after using all the towels and dropping them on the wet, sandy floor of the hotel bathroom. She haggled over restaurant checks and left embarrassingly small tips and when we were out in a kayak together in the hot sun she wouldn’t share her sun screen lotion after mine was gone. I almost blame her for my basal cell carcinoma and that trip ended with me screaming, "It is TOO a f**king pileated woodpecker, you tight-assed b**ch!" We didn’t exactly bring out the best in each other.
A good friend does that- brings out the best in you. I’ve traveled with Linda a few times before. We took another friend, Roberta, to NYC for some playtime when she was going through chemo for breast cancer. We would have suffocated her with a pillow because of her snoring but we liked her too much plus, under the circumstances, it would have been rude. I’m glad we didn’t because she, too, has stuck around to be a great friend. Last year Linda joined Abby and me on a trip to the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, where the Sierpe River meets the Pacific Ocean and the trees are full of sloths and snakes. It was spectacularly beautiful but probably too soon for Linda: her husband had died a short five weeks before. Nevertheless, she kept her chin up, went zip-lining through the rain forest canopy with us and she and I began knitting summer sweaters for ourselves that still aren’t finished because the directions had two major errors. Linda has ripped hers out repeatedly and perseveres and will have a beautiful summer pullover any day now; mine is moldering under cat hair in the UFO basket.
In addition to working on her sweater this past year she has patiently put her financial and business affairs in order, gotten a large home in prime condition to sell and bought a smaller home she will move into as soon as her renovations are done. She has seen her sons the rest of the way through college, lost and buried her mother, gotten that house cleared out and on the market, remembered everyone’s birthdays and provided comfort and support to others. All the while quietly, gracefully bearing her grief and with an eye toward the future. Beyond loving Linda, I have great admiration for her. When I’m around her I want to behave better: walk and run further and faster, swear less and be willing to rip out projects and start again because, over the long haul, it will be worth it. Also, we laugh a whole lot together.
Linda spent last week in Florida with me when I wasn’t at my very best. She got me out walking, we rode the bikes, we went over plans for the addition on the Florida bungalow and we went shopping for river rock flooring and beach glass shower tiles. This is going to be my "outside in" project and I welcome Linda’s exceptional vision on these kinds of undertakings. My vision includes potting up some of those fence genitals and having them grow up the columns of my new vast verandah, which will be perfect for mini-blogging conventions (that picture yesterday? There were MANY of them, ripe and swollen, all over the back fence. With nice heart shaped leaves.) In the same way I often host BookClubMYAss, we too can have BCMA: Blogging Convention My Ass. Who’s in?
March 11, the day my mother died, was the first anniversary of this weblog. I wasn’t in a cake baking mood; more like "where’s the pure vanilla extract?" On March 29th last year I wrote this short post about a little stick of a Tidal Basin Cherry tree; the tree was a wedding gift from Linda and David and it was struggling to take hold. Here is that same tree today, just beginning to show it’s swollen Spring buds. The rewards of nurturing trees and friendships are good, yes?