Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Garden

It takes a long time
to grow an old friend.
~ John Leonard

A special friend once
told me that when she thinks of her
friends, she thinks of a garden.

Some friends are
like annuals,
thrown together
in riotous color
because of school
or work or you
volunteer together or
your children are friends.

And when that
season is over,
the tie that bound
is slack;
the friendship slowly
fades and is gone.


And that's okay.
We need annuals;
they have their
own unique place
in the garden.

Because we have
friendships that endure
the seasons and that
can be counted on
to be there,
 year after

As a child, my family moved
a lot and I left in my wake a
trail of annuals....friendships
that blossomed brightly and
then were gone.  In my heart,
I am so thankful for each and
every one of them for befriending
the new girl....

Pam Keehan of Glens Falls, NY {2nd and 3rd grade}, thank you.
Dena Blevins of Walla Walla, WA {end of 3rd; 4th}, thank you.
Sheryl Miller of St. Helens, OR {5th grade}, thank you.
Lori Adams of Salem, OR {6th, 7th and start of 8th}, thank you.

I still remember them all, but despite
initial earnest letter writing, we
are no longer in touch.

Some friends you can see only a
few times a year or even a decade,
but you pick up right
like it was yesterday, when you were 
first nestled in that garden, together.

I am so excited because
in a few short weeks
I will be reunited with
that very pal I first mentioned,
who thinks of friendship like a garden.

We haven't seen each other
 in over five years!

How easily we might have been annuals,
but lucky me, our friendship grew
strong, sweet roots.

A Gymboree class in Indiana brought us
together, almost exactly 15 years ago.
She made her entrance to the first class
a bit late; she'd gotten a little lost, as she
wasn't from the area.  Her nine-month
old daughter on her hip, she gracefully
joined our circle and I was immediately
drawn to her fresh style, warm smile 
and yes, I must admit, her accent.

She's from New Zealand.

Her family was in Indianapolis while her
husband, an ophthalmologist, completed a
 fellowship athe Indiana School for the Blind.

Despite growing up a world away
from each other, we found that we
were kindred spirits and could
easily talk for hours.  We enjoyed
meeting with our baby girls to
chat about everything and anything.
Hopes, fears, dreams; we covered
a lot of ground while chasing after two
 little tykes.  And we laughed. A lot.

Our friendship had only blossomed
 for a year when it was time for them
to return home.  Tears were shed.
This was not like having a friend move
to New York or California or even
Hawaii.  This was a move that
would separate us by half of
the earth!

But we were perennials.

Mainly we have communicated via
 letters and the Internet, as
coordinating a phone call can be both
costly and tricky.  When it is 9AM here
  on Monday, it is already 3AM Tuesday 
 morning, there.  Helga has the most beautiful 
handwriting and when I open the mailbox
and see her unique script on a card or parcel, 
it always lifts my spirits as I anticipate brewing
a cup of tea and savoring every word.

New Zealand
Since Helga and her family returned
to New Zealand in 1996, I have seen
 her three times.  Our upcoming
visit will be the shortest ~ just one
lovely day together ~ but it may just
be the most precious.  Like old 
times, we'll talk and talk, but now as
perennials that have braved many
more seasons in our own gardens.

Some of those seasons have brought
 a lot of stormy weather as we have both
 faced life's  inevitable ups and downs.

But our friendship has endured.

We have endured.


Do you have a special perennial
in your garden of friendship?

I'll pour the coffee.
Let's visit that garden.



Rene said...

Interesting to compare friendships to flowers. You are right though, some are annuals and some perennials. How nice to have someone so far away send you letters. Even with internet, I'm sure the letters are more meaningful to receive. It is wonderful that you have kept in touch with each other.

Enjoy your day friend.

Anonymous said...

That is such a beautiful analogy Suzanne. Variety really is the spice of life. I've always found my friends fill different needs, or bring different positives in my life.

Lisa xx

traci said...

how wonderful suzanne. i hope you enjoy your day together. i am so lucky to have a huge garden of perennials. they make life so beautiful.

Laura said...

Do I have a perennial... Oh, yes and I love to talk about our special friendship. We met when I was 4 and she 3. She was there through my parents messy divorce... we both had messy relationships... then lost touch, as we fell out over something so silly. Then her mum had a severe stroke. My parents informed me and I immediately drove home. Walked to her parents and she ran into my arms and sobbed. We have never lost touch since. She came to Australia to celebrate my birthday and this past Sunday she had her first baby ( a boy) after years of trying. I said she had to have a boy, so that he can marry one of girls and we can finally be family! I feel blessed to have her in my life. Lx

deborah said...

That is fantastic that the two of you get to be together again. I would agree that there are friends for a season, a reason or a lifetime and am thankful for all of mine:)

Anonymous said...

Each and every person we meet walk into and out of our life for a reason. If nothing else, they give us sweet memories.


Blondie's Journal said...

This is such a sweet post...I had tears in my eyes once I starting reading about your friendship with Helga. I have had many 'annual' friendships but so few perennial. I know I am missing out on one of the greatest things in life...a true best friend.

I am so happy that you didn't let Helga become an 'annual'. Hang on to that friendship, even if there are years and years between seeing one another.


Jill said...

Hello my perennial friend!
I say that with every bit of wishful thinking...

I love this analogy! I have many perennial friends and consider myself blessed for having them.

Looking forward to our outing on Friday...until then...have a wonderful week.

lisaroyhandbags said...

What a beautiful post and a perfect way to describe the friendships we make. I've had many annuals as well, due to so many moves over the years but do have one special perennial that is always there and like you said, we do pick up right where we left off. It's so lovely that the two of you have stayed so close though you're a world apart. What an exciting reunion it will be no matter how short! xo

Simone @ Doberman's by the Sea said...

Great post. My Dobi is my best friend :)

jeanette from everton terrace said...

A perfect way to describe the garden of friends we have over the course of our lives. I love this. I am lucky enough to have a couple perennials, girls I've known and laughed with since early childhood. I have also had many annuals who were dear to me and, like you, I remember them fondly but know that our time together faded as it was supposed to. I like how the "mine hers" photo had you all mixed up together - one family.

quintessence said...

What a wonderful analogy!! And how exciting that you will soon be reunited - what fun! Amazing to see how much the kids have grown. Maybe you two need skype!!

Lisa said...

Suzanne, beautifully said as always. I am so glad for all the flowers of friendship that I have the had the pleasure of know through blogging, like yours.
And I am blessed to have a few perennials that, despite not seeing each other for sometimes years at a time, I can easily pick up with wherever we left off. I'm off to send your post link to one this moment! Have a lovely day my friend.

Melissa said...

that was so beautiful S...

you have given me strength and hope that when we eventually return hometo Oz {15,000miles from our home here in england}...that my british bestie and i will meet over the years again and again and be ok...
we are perennials....through & through...

& have the most special and wonderful of days together...
melissa xx

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Such lovely words. You are such a natural poet - everything you write comes out flowers. I'm such a doofus, that I make a better impression when quiet :) that's why I use so many photos in my posts!

Have a wonderful time with your friend! I love it when you can pick up where you left off - especially if they have a cool kiwi accent :) XOL

Valerie@chateaualamode.typepad.com said...

Suzanne, that is so beautiful. I love my friends and I love the way you have described a garden full of them. They all have that unique place and some will last longer than others and some will have deeper roots for sure. Some will also weather the storms with us. Thanks for the reminder of how special friends are to my heart.
Take care,

Suz said...

What a beautiful story. I just stopped by from Julie's wonderful post...had to check out this incredible Suzanne!


Stitchfork said...

Want a wonderful way to describe friends! You certainly have a green thumb and a rich garden.
xo Cathy

Ruby’s Upcycle Designs™ said...

What an awesome story & great friendship you have! Thanks for sharing! Great analogy, too! xoxo Beth


What a lovely piece you have written on such an important topic - friendship. I am so glad you get to see your long time friend, but my favorite part . . . honoring those young girls that were friendly to the new girl. Good for their moms for teaching them to embrace the "new kid."

Enjoy the day with your friend.


A Vintage Chic said...

Oh, what a wonderful post, Suzanne! I loved your garden/friend analogy...just perfect!

SO many annuals in my life...but there are those steady perennials that I rarely get to see, but that I love oh, so much! You're right--you may not see each other very often, but when you do...no effort required...picking up right where you left off. The best kind of friend.

So glad you will get to be with your dear friend again...what a wonderful blessing, my friend!

Wishing you a lovely, peaceful night...


Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good morning dear friend. What a lovely way to talk about something that baffles me much...friendships. But you have put it in great perspective for me, as I have friendships that are like those hardy perennials, and then there are those that POP UP EVER SO BRIGHTLY, but then fade and never come back. It hurts, but then again, something so beautiful was never meant perhaps to always last. You are such a great writer, Suzanne...Anita

Sally@DivineDistractions said...

Beautiful post, Suzanne, and a great reminder to us all to nurture and care for our friendships. I am a blessed woman to have several "perinnials" in my life, and lucky for me, they are a little closer! Have a lovely visit with your friend.

Linda in AZ * said...

*** Dearest Suzanne...

* Once again, you've touched my heart. I am so happy for your beautiful, enduring friendship... ANNND, I am reminded that it is indeed TIME to "TAKE the time" to get in touch with two very, very special friends, with whom I've shared a friendship for over thirty years, thanks to our lives as military wives (MOVING constantly, all over the globe!)...

Thank you for literally making me remember the old adage that friends are the flowers of life!

Wishing you both much joy! How rare indeed THESE SPECIAL FRIENDSHIPS truly ARE!!!

Linda in AZ *

Teresa said...

All I can say as that this post took my breath away.
I find myself needing to have one of those boo~hoo kind of crys.
So touched by your words and the lovely~ness of this sweet friendship.
Tears in my eyes that are getting ready to flow.
What a sweet sweet post.
Yes...yes...I have many friends like this.
What a dear friend you are.

Style Attic said...

Oh I do! It seems all my besties are long distance. I love that the roots always survive the seasons and they only grow deeper with time. In our current city, after 4 years of being here I can now see some beautiful blooms of people I would carry with me if we were ever to be uprooted and leave. It's lovely to stop and smell the flowers! XO, Kelly


Whoa...she lives far!!! How nice that you have kept in touch. And now that we all have internet and skype it makes even the oceans that separate us get smaller....

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

It sounds to me as though your friendship has moved even further than perrennials. More like established trees, eiith branches interweaving.

Is that okay to make up a third category? With some of my friends, it's almost like being on my own, in that we don't have to talk if we don't need to. We can sit together reading, or crafting, just for the joy of being together.

I think it's when you can sit in silence that you've found a true, true friend for life.


simpledaisy said...

Oh my goodness... I read every word of that post! So very beautiful!! I am so lucky to have a few perennials in my garden!!! And I am thankful to have the annuals sprinkled in here and there!!! LOOOOVE this post!!!!!!

June said...

Suzanne I love this post! I hope that you and Helga have a wonderful day.
I love my perennial friends the best, but I will plant anything beautiful.
I have missed some of your beautiful posts in the time while I was away and enjoyed my time here catching up with you my friend.
sending hugs

Kathy's Red Door Welcome said...

What a timely post. I am getting ready to write about a childhood friend who I would definitely consider her to be a perennial as you so aptly put it. Thanks for sharing!

Joanna said...

Wonderful post which stopped me in my tracks - what a brilliant analogy, to compare friendships with gardens. Your friendship is clearly so deeply rooted, you are lucky to have found each other and grabbed the moment.

Enjoy your get together.


paperbird said...

Beautiful post Suzanne and you are just SO lovely.
Friends are such a sweet blessing.

Princess and the Pea said...

I don't have a perennial, I wish I did. I too moved around a lot growing up and have changed jobs often as well so friendships have just never developed like that for me. My husband has been friends with the same group of six since he was nine and they are always doing something together - I sometimes feel a little envious that I don't have that with anyone. Not that I would ever wish it any other way for him but I would like to be able to call someone up to share a bottle of wine or go out shopping sometimes too. I suppose my husband is my perennial. Xx

Lili said...

Oh this is so great and got me thinking about my perennials too, right from the very first moment we met, as in your case mine vividly recalled too. It sure is a great feeling to just meet up with them and pick up right where we left off. What a fun thing you have to look forward to. Enjoy your visit Suzanne! xoxo ~Lili

Blooming Rose Musings said...

How wonderful to compare friends to flowers. I have had many annuals and a few very wonderful perennials. One very special perenial is someone who I have known since we were 4 years old. We lost track of each other for several years but when we found each other again it was as if no time had ever separated us. We picked up right where we had left off. I hope you and Helga will have that same kind of friendship for the rest of your lives.

Seizing My Day said...

This is so beautiful Suzanne.. so beautiful!! =) I hope your time together is wonderful!

I have the overwhelming need to water my garden now... =)

Kat said...

Oh my, tears are rolling down my face right now. I miss my perennials back in Canada. Some I haven't seen in YEARS! Such a sweet and special place in my heart is held by these dear friends. Such a lovely post. Suzanne, you touch my heart with every word you write. Thank you. xx kat