Today is her birthday, and this week it was my turn to send the magical and much-anticipated "birthday box". She found it on her porch one night, alongside one her sister had sent her. She had to open mine first and she had to open it before showering after her run - good thing there were some shea butter soaps included in that box. She took out all the little treasures, put them all back in the box so she could take them out again in the morning, and she sent the longest 1:00 a.m. e-mail I've ever received, commenting on each and every tiny gift and the way it was wrapped or presented. She has a way of giving back a gift after she opens her gift.
She has a deep love of poetry and shares it often. When she asked me to share some of my favored poems with her, I had to tell her the truth: I am a bit poetry challenged. I don't always "get it" and I am not 100% at catching all the metaphors, the imagery. I am not quite the deep thinker that some others are and I'm sometimes not too imaginative. Now she sends poems that are still very beautiful, but presented in words that no one could miss. I like Mary Oliver and I like poems I can easily understand. She gives them to me.
She loves the desert, as do I, but she is far more familiar and intimate with it. She camps out in it alone, which I have not done. I am intimidated that she can do that and so far I have not been able to. She does not fear the things in the desert that I fear. I regret I have not overcome my fears, for I am certainly missing a good share of time in a place I love.
Her work that supports her is for a non-profit desert protection agency. She works at what she loves and believes in. She is knowledgeable and passionate about desert conservation and works endlessly to educate, inform and spread the word about the beauty to be found in the fragile environment she loves. She does not miss an opportunity to ask a new friend to become a member of her Desert Protective Council, and yes, I did - immediately.
She has been a runner for many years. I walk farther than she runs, longer and more frequently, but she runs freely and all-out, like a child. I plod like an old woman.
She tells me when I need to eat more, sleep more, work less, walk fewer miles. I tell her that, as a rule, I rarely tell other adults what they should do. She walks right up to my boundaries and rubs her foot on them. I tell her when to back off. She writes a lovely letter of apology. She also knew how to tell me to find the way to resolution of a problem when the important men in my life were simply saying "Fix it!" She knew how to say, "Do it this way. These are the steps."
Whereas I'd never let someone kick a girl just because she is female, my friend is a fierce feminist. Sometimes I make statements about women or other classes of people that I think are OK statements to make, at least to a friend. She bites me hard, and I have to say, "Alright, you are better evolved than I."
There is one subject we don't do well to discuss. Each of us bristles about it. Once, when she was prickly and I was calm, I said, "Look, there is always going to be this porcupine sitting between us. Do you want to be friends anyway?" She told me I stated that well and she did want to be friends.
It may be interesting to the reader to know that, so far, we have communicated deeply and well, but only through e-mail, blog and on the phone. I think we are to be commended for being open and committed to learning about another valuable human being.
About 8 days into knowing my friend, I knew at least one good reason why she'd been put in my life and why she was a gift. About 6 weeks into the relationship I learned yet another very good reason why I should be and am grateful to have her.
So, if you have ever had such a friend, or if you just like a good girlfriend story, or if you have seen T, TRegina, TRW or Terry comment on your blog, or if you just enjoy saying "have a great day" to the birthday boy or girl, please leave a comment that she will see, my very dear friend.
In my ears right now: The Happy Birthday song, of course!
Something that charmed me: Yesterday on e-mail I said, "You're absolutely giddy about your birthday coming." She replied, "Oh, Im just counting and reveling in the many blessings I've received."
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAR TERRY!