Wednesday, June 23, 2010
An old friend, Marysia, came to visit early this week. I met her my first day in San Diego 20 years ago. She overheard me in the off-campus housing office telling a potential landlord that I was a first-year grad student in anthropology. And we were housemates that year -- five of us in a big old house on Fort Stockton Avenue. There was good food, and Elise's sunflowers, and every night a funny story of Susan's ESL students. And Elise and Jordan making art in the garage. I weathered my studies, Marysia did the same, while also grieving through the death of her brother. The next year she was off to Poland to start her fieldwork, and we wouldn't live in the same city again until I returned from my own fieldwork in Central Asia at the beginning of 1997. She was there by Monica at Porter's birth, and I have memories all jumbled up of many dinners and easy friendship with her and Axel. But it was only a year and a half until she handed off her Chula Vista classes to me and moved to Tuscaloosa to be a potter and professor.
In tallying that up we were a little shocked to realize out that our friendship, which is one we both take for granite, is based on only 2 and a half years of proximity. But such is friendship. Somehow those were times that let us know one another and every visit confirms it.
I was talking with other friends about time and its elasticity (it is midsummer, and the New England days have all been stretching lengthwise). We think we have time or don't have time for the things we want to do -- and it's true to an extent. (I still haven't gotten around to re-caulking the shower -- despite visualizing mold and rot inside the wall each time I take a shower -- because I haven't set aside the time.) But when it comes to the important things -- the experiences and relationships that really enrich a day or week or year -- we have this ability to bring the passage of time to a snail's pace by simply being in the moment. And in that way, the moment, minute, year, becomes almost infinitely dense. And so there is time -- if only I am wise enough to occupy it.