Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Walking and Talking

So I've been trying to get out and go walking more. When you work at home and drive kids around endlessly, it starts to feel as though you're either sitting at home or else sitting in the car. Because you are. Home can start to feel like a prison, but more often I'm stuck in the feeling like all I do is run around taking care of everyone else's needs, so getting out and walking is something I wanted to do just for me. Paul would call it 'soul building'.

Early morning at Lake Elizabeth.

So my friend Michealle comes out walking with me once a week, or at least we try to work it into our schedules. She's very patient with me; I usually bring my camera and Yoda Bob Dog, and she frequently brings her dog Sasha and her birding binoculars, and we walk along and have a good time. We stop and stare at birds, I take lots of pictures, the dogs stand around patiently and wait.And then they sit and wait. And then they get impatient and Yoda starts jumping around whining and we move along.

Sasha waits patiently.

Walks with Michealle are never boring; she's an expert bird watcher and has a lot of knowledge about wildlife; her degree was in Wildlife Management, if I'm not mistaken. We always see cool birds and other wildlife, and she knows about ecosystems and plants and has a lot of the same interests that I do, so we can jabber away at great length and never run out of stuff to talk about. She never seems to get impatient with me when I stop to try to capture the perfect light on the mountain or the mist on the water or the color of the pickleweed in the marshy areas.

Pickleweed at Don Edwards Nature Preserve.

What always amazes and touches me is that Michealle is ready and willing to make time to go walking with me; she's plenty busy with all of the things she does; she's organized and always on time, she runs a number of non-profit organizations with common sense and kindness and she's an essential and vibrant part of the Mission Peak UU Congregation. She's creative and intelligent and has raised an amazing daughter with her husband, Mark.

Michealle and Sasha.

I'm still sort of floored that she made the first overture of friendship, asking me if I wanted to go walking. I feel blessed to have met her, and the many other kind folks at Mission Peak who have reached out to me and become friends. Mind you, it always amazes me when anyone reaches out in friendship to me or my family, and it never gets old, it never ceases to surprise and touch my heart. That small negative voice in my head  can't imagine why they have sought me out as friend material, but thank goodness they reach out their hands past that fearful part of me and grab my hand anyway. :)

Getting the chance to develop friendships and being allowed to let them deepen with time is a special sort of bonus to living in the same place and putting down roots, I think. I never had really close friends when we were growing up; there were transitory friends, but I never knew anyone for very long, and long distance friendships rarely last, especially with kids.

Looking west across the Bay.
Developing long term friends came with college and adulthood, but that lonely shy new kid in school has never really gone away. It's incredibly hard for me to reach out to other people, partly because I'm still shy and insecure (why would they want to hang out with me, after all?) but also because of those early lessons that we'd just be moving on anyway, so why get attached and then just get hurt? It's one of those life lessons, getting past the fears of rejection, fears of loss and all that. You'd think I'd have conquered it all long ago, but it's one of those 'layers of an onion' things, you keep peeling off layers and peeling off layers... The hard lessons seem to go that way.
Anyway, I'm lucky in the friends who have sought me out and continue to hang out with me once they know me. I feel very fortunate to have all of my local friends as well as all of my long distance friends, the long term friends as well as the newer ones that are just developing. I'm not always a good friend. Staying in touch is not one of my strong points; keeping in touch with friends separated by time and distance or busy lives has been hard with the busy lives we all lead. But I hope I never take them for granted or lose my appreciation for all of them with all of their amazing talents and hard won knowledge and abilities.

Hrm, I went off talking all about me there; it wasn't really my intention. I have such cool friends, it's just amazing, always.

1 comment:

  1. Nice, nice post. It's possible that having an updated phone system would make it easier to keep in touch with folks.
    Plus, of course, having time and brain cells and etc.
    Oddly enough people at work have been having stirrings about walking more at lunch. Methinks it may be spring sun out of winter clouds does it to them.
    Not that I disagree, but I don't make their kind of noise about it, I just kill my feet by going, often by myself for work chores or shopping or whatever.
    Going to see the gorgeous, with the intent of absorbing it and taking pictures, would be a very different feeling, very much more the way I travel with good company. I will have to think about ways to approach that same sense while at work...