Sunday Scribblings: Fellow Travellers
I think first of those who are on my day-to-day path, the friends and colleagues who know when I've got a cold, who check in how I'm feeling at vulnerable moments; those who have gathered up the details of my family - who's not well, who I'm concerned about. These people - they pick up my satchel and carry it a way, they reach out so that I'm sheltered by their umbrella as we walk along. They find a sweet in a pocket and offer it. Hum a tune that will carry us a little farther along the road. They share details of their lives, and we pass words - memories and hopes - back and forth as we travel. This is my tribe, these people are my kith.
Our steps are not always synchronised. Some drift onto other paths, and we call out a Hello! that is heard faintly from time to time. But we do not forget one another, and when we find ourselves again on the same stretch of pavement for a time, we meet with gladness, and pick up the threads of our conversation again.
And then there are those met just once along the way. Brief times of connection with another soul. There are two whose memory warms my heart particularly.
J... my sister and I shared 3 seats together with her on our flight home from Lanzarote, a few years ago - winter 2004. She noticed that my sister was reading Ulysses, and was impressed. We counted the number of failed attempts we'd all made between us. (Reminder: Check with A whether she actually finished it that time!) We compared notes on the holidays we'd had. We two on a typical tourist visit, taking in everything and everywhere associated with Cesar Manrique, swimming, reading, eating too well. She'd been on a yoga holiday, and it had had its challenges for her. We clicked. Found we had more interests than books in common. We shared email addresses, and she and I have been in touch occasionally since then. She has health difficulties, and she runs writing workshops. Last year, she shared one of my poems with a class, and I had an email from one of her students thanking me for the inspiration for her own poem. I think of J far more often than I contact her. She was one of the fellow-travellers I feel blessed to have encountered. We could meet again. Sometime, I hope we will.
And then there was K... I'm sitting at Shannon Airport, May 2006, in the departure lounge. Nearby, a woman is smoothing and folding some silk scarves, checking whether she's accidentally splashed them with water. Our eyes meet. "They're beautiful" I say, and she immediately turns to me: "Aren't they? I couldn't resist buying them as gifts to bring home..." She's been touring ancient sites in the West of Ireland with the wonderful spiritual writer, John O'Donoghue, (who died quite recently, and is remembered by many, including Cate, HERE). So began a conversation that was to continue through our wait at the airport, and later on the flight to New York - which was only half-full, and where we could choose to sit wherever we wanted. Our interests too dovetailed in strange, synchronous ways. We had taken workshops on either side of the Atlantic with the same wonderful Poetry Therapy teacher. When she heard the purpose of my first visit to the States - to attend SoulCollage(R) facilitator training - she had heard of it. She had the book. As we talked, we discovered that our personal lives had parallel experiences, and we found we were both travelling along the path of single life after the end of our marriages. I shared secrets that no-one else in my life has heard. We laughed. I learnt something of her spiritual journey, she of mine. When we parted, each to take different connecting flights to different parts of the west coast, I knew I had met someone who would be in my life for a long time.
Our contacts are sporadic, but just as with J, there was a feeling when we met that left me knowing we two were meant to meet at that time and in that place, and that we would always be connected, in some ways - as fellow travellers along the road of life.
Confirmation of that: Last year, I return to California for a SoulCollage conference. When I turn to the participant on my right during introductions, she tells me what city she's from. "Oh... I've only ever met one person from there" I say, "... her name was K..." They know one another! Friends! It's a small world, and in it, aren't we blessed when along our paths we meet such fellow travellers? I know that I am.
[And note...I haven't even touched on or mentioned my feelings about the fellow travellers I meet day by day here in Blogland and just how much so many of you mean to me, because I did just recently, on my 2nd Blogiversary post. You know I love you! ]
For more Sunday Scribblings on Fellow Travellers, go look HERE.