My glorious weekend at the ocean had left me sapped of energy. Usually the sea rejuvenates me. I can depend on the soothing grace of her song and the soft kiss of her breath to revitalize my spirit. But one of my episodic slumps pulled at the corners of my mouth all week. I might have fared worse if I had not gone; but I returned in a fog of fatigue to Monday’s eight-hour work-day. A basket filled with self-doubt dumped itself on my doorstep by nightfall.
Then the screen of my cell phone lit with a name that I rarely see these days. Penny Thieme. I hit the button to engage. Her sassy spirit bubbled across the miles. We talked about old times, old folks, old lines for which we still search for that perfect rhyme. I told her about walking to the edge of an ocean cliff to live a sticker for my friend Beth’s son Xander. She shared her latest adventures,and told a sweet silly story about love and lust in the San Francisco of younger years. By the time we finally admitted our respective need for sleep, my soul had risen from the slumps even if my body could not follow.
Here’s the thing about friends. Whether born to us, like a dear sibling or cousin; or gifted by the universe, they soothe me as no tonic ever could. As I scroll through the weekend’s photographs looking for the one I took of a crow on San Gregorio Beach, I see my friend Penny’s radiant face and I know, as certainly as I sit here in the loft of my tiny house, that no distance, nor any mere feature of geography, nor the strongest Delta winds, could ever .damage our connection beyond repair. The phone trills; I see her name; and I might as well have just left her at the coffee table bent over some sketch or scribbling.
Hey, Penny. What’s up, girl?
It’s the eleventh day of the seventy-fourth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.