We are judged by the company we keep. Fortunately I’ve been surrounded by a pretty good crowd. My friends, even more than my family, have defined me. They have provided the cornerstones of the life I’ve constructed for myself. The bond of friendship is an interesting phrase. Bonds are constraints, ties, fastenings and friendship is all of that. But bonds are also promises, covenants that we make and construct. This twin restraint/support holds us in place, keeps us grounded and centered and lets us define what and who we are.
I am thinking a lot about friendship these days — partly because I’m about to set off to Alberta and BC to renew my bonds with some of my closest friends. One of them, Kirk Miles, is an inspiration for this very blog. Kirk, professional clown, arts organizer extraordinaire but, most of all, poet, told me of a habit he had formed of starting his day by writing a five minute poem. Not every one, in fact, very few, were gems but they liberated him and led him into his busy and often productive days. Kirk is a great friend as too is his wife, Tania Sablatash, whose friendship actually is slightly older than that I have with Kirk and easily as profound.
I won’t enumerate who else lies within the closest circle — they know who they are. The list isn’t long but it is very deep. Which for me is what describes how I feel about friends — a deepness of emotion that crosses almost all limits. There is acceptance, support, laughter, tears, love. It’s the complete package.
Oddly most of my closest friendships were formed in a ten year period between 1985 and 1995, a time when I was finally putting together the pieces of the puzzle that is myself. My friends helped me do that — no, they made me do that and for this I will be eternally grateful.
Some people think there comes a time when it is more difficult to make new deep friends. I don’t think that’s true. I have felt the bonds of friendship grow with someone new almost at every stage of my life. Sometimes those tendrils wither and fade; other times they deepen and become the strong roots that sustain me and help me grow ever taller.
And that’s ten minutes.