Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Single New Year’s Resolution

The hand writing on the envelope is distinctive. I can’t get Hanukkah cards out to my own family, yet, every year this woman remembers. I tear open the envelope. Her handwriting’s a slow read. I like that, give my brain time to remember the days I used to spend on her porch, the two of us, sipping wine, eating dinner, talking and talking. She’s a poet, a teacher. We met while we were both graduate students, going back to school later in life. She became a good friend, a close friend, but we haven’t seen each other for nearly four years, ever since she moved away. This is a woman who has shown me a beach where we trolled for sea glass, who has introduced me to the work of Rita Dove, a woman who loves me as I am, a woman who won’t let me drop out of her life. I adore that.

And so that card brings me back to our friendship, and I realize that as we near the end of this year, a time when everyone seems to be making resolutions for the future, I’m looking back. I like that, and I think that’s what’s missing from this crazy listing that we do, telling ourselves to spend more time with family, to exercise, to lose weight, to quit smoking, to quit drinking, to enjoy life more, to get out of debt, to learn something new, to help others, to get organized. The list is overwhelming, and sets us up for failure.

My friend didn’t move a great distance, seventy miles or so. I could easily drive there. I’m the one with the time. She lives on her elderly aunt’s farm. There are chores, animals to feed, to water, eggs to collect. There is the aunt. My friend has a daily four hour commute for work. Why don’t I create the space? And so I find myself thinking about the drives I’ve taken last summer, passing the road to the farm, on my way to hike in the White Mountains. I’ve thought about veering off. I haven’t.

And so I find myself making a resolution, a single resolution. I will call. I will make that drive. This will not be a veering off. It will be a visit, a real visit, and I’ll bring Lucy and Sam, my two standard poodles. They’ll love the farm. I’ll love the farm, but most of all I’ll love reuniting with my friend.

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