Monday, June 8, 2009
it's not Paris, but still...
After leaving my college town last Wednesday afternoon, I drove through lovely countryside (with Classic Vinyl blasting away) to northwestern Connecticut, where I had a date with yet another long-lost friend. Rachael and I were so close in college, and afterwards we kept in touch for a few years, but we were never living near each other till now, and we're both terrible about corresponding and making phone calls, so we hadn't seen each other in what we estimate to be about 15 years. But since I'm on this jaunt of stirring up the murky depths and so forth, trying to figure out what makes me tick, I was hoping that spending time with someone who had been so important to me in my past would help me knit the pieces together. Plus, she's a gem.
I knew that we would have a great time catching up and chatting, but I would have thought that, after all these years, we might not have known each so well any more, especially since one assumes that one has grown and changed since college, doesn't one? Instead (maybe because Rachael looks exactly the same as she did in college), it felt almost as if no time at all had gone by; we were instantly so deep in conversation that anyone looking in from the outside would have assumed we'd just seen each other a day or so ago. Even though the particulars of our lives are very different, it seems as if we are each asking the same questions, and we each seemed to understand what the other is going through and could offer perspective and advice. I can only hope that my input was as helpful to Rachael as hers was to me.
I've always thought of myself as fairly reserved and buttoned up (and I'd love to think I'm mysterious), but Rachael can see right through me. That's not always the most comfortable feeling, but one I have tried to learn to bear - to sit through the discomfort, rather than saying, "But enough about me! I love your shoes!" (You can only imagine how exposed this blog makes me feel at times.) Rachael's squirmingly insightful observations helped give me a better sense of where the continuity has been in my life, what parts of me are true and constant, and where I've shifted away from that plumb line in directions that are perhaps not right for me. Then there are those ways in which I've consistently sabotaged myself - those are some constants I'd like smash once and for all.
My overnight stay was made even more restorative by the locale. Rachael and her family live in the most beautiful area: a school campus that is about as gorgeous as it gets, especially this time of year. There's a lake, and beautiful grounds, and hiking trails, and it's so quiet (apparently, that's not the case during the school year, but I arrived the very day the students left, so it was rather idyllic).
There's a chance I'll spend some time up there this summer, which will be a perfect opportunity to try out the Thoreau approach to life (you know: solitude, lake, nature, notebook [and/or laptop], and Deep Thoughts). I'm feeling more and more like I'm not a city girl any more, at least not for now, but leaving behind the city and my friends and connections and family is a big step, so an out-of-town tryout could be just the ticket.