Friday, April 16, 2010

Parting Ways


Once I had exacting standards to call someone a "friend". These days, I use the word more freely and irresponsibly even. The gravitas associated with friendship has greatly diminished over time and more people are now contained within its orb. The woman I met for lunch last week, is a friend after a fashion. If you consider similar life experiences and the common need to share with and relate to another human being whose suffering resembles your own - that probably falls into the realm of friendship. Yet, there is no larger context around this connection and when we part ways, it would be no more significant to either of our lives than scooping out a handful of water from the ocean might be to it.

That afternoon as we shared stories from our pasts, we were confidantes and friends in a way we might hardly be with others in our lives. We both felt better knowing that the emotional upheavals we had gone through, the times when had questioned our sanity and when we had thought there would never be a return to "normal", were not unique experiences or some kind of fatal aberration. Human beings respond to situations like ours in very similar ways - there is a sense of comfort in knowing that. For a minute I may have thought of her as a sister but that would be forcing into the relationship more significance than there is.

As we parted ways at the parking lot, for some odd reason a poem by Erza Pound came to mind.

 Taking Leave of a Friend by Erza Pound
Blue mountains to the north of the walls,
White river winding about them;
Here we must make separation
And go out through a thousand miles of dead grass.

Mind like a floating wide cloud,
Sunset like the parting of old acquaintances
Who bow over their clasped hands at a distance.
Our horses neigh to each others
as we are departing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was extremely cathartic (though resurrecting it was quite painful) for me pouring out some details of my life.

I found two friends you & Life Refactored.