Mornings With Joanne

The weather was accommodating while Joanne was here – it rained without interruption.  As a result, we spent Tuesday inside – no distractions (but for the Sirs, who are very capable of disrupting anything for attention), no interruptions.  Although Jo and I see each other once or twice a year, we began our conversation wherever we left it last.  Given that this thread was picked up after forty-plus years of silence, it’s nothing short of amazing.

I can spot her anywhere – it’s her smile or her eyes moving from one point to another scouring the area around her to ensure its familiarity.  Or perhaps it is the intimate awareness that comes from understanding another soul so well that it can call you silently.  Alan said she has a ‘beautiful spirit’, a description that she wears far better than her too-loose jeans.

This year has been a test for which no one really prepared.  Hurricane Sandy hit her neighborhood almost as hard as it hit her husband’s business.  The intricacies of bureaucracies responsible for remediation challenged nerves already too frayed.  Rebuilding is expensive, exacting payment from one’s wallet and one’s sense of well-being.  She and Ben are well on their way, though anxiety chooses to linger and makes sure that its presence is never forgotten.  Jo reminds me of a kite – always has.  She flies and dips with the rhythm of the wind, making glorious loops and circles, dipping down precipitously and grandly, only to catch a gust of air to lift her up with easy gracefulness.  There is something about the sun and the breeze and Jo in flight – it’s a visual that never fails to delight.

Yet life teaches you that sometimes you have to be grounded.  You have to move forward in the far less appealing, plebian way of placing one weighted shoe in front of the next.  There is the need to be present when present is the very last thing one wants to be.  The relentless reminder that we are needed on this walking path.  There is no flight, no game of tag with the wind.  It is perhaps harder for those who revel in the movement of the air, those who are defined by their limitless potential for love, ideology, hope and a dash of resistant innocence.  I can see the little girl within, arms folded defiantly, her chin raised and her bangs almost shaking with the affront of being grounded.  And because I love her, I want for her to always feel the indescribable freedom of dancing in the air.  And because I love her, I suggest that there is beauty to be found on the footpath.

And just as she alit on Monday, she was off again on Wednesday morning to warmer climes.  But as is Joanne’s way, she left the essence of that spirit here.  Sitting in the kitchen on this early Saturday morning, drinking some coffee and regaling me with her tales from the sky…

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51 thoughts on “Mornings With Joanne

  1. “Jo reminds me of a kite – always has. She flies and dips with the rhythm of the wind, making glorious loops and circles, dipping down precipitously and grandly, only to catch a gust of air to lift her up with easy gracefulness.” Magic. Your Words and your friendship with Jo.

  2. A beautiful paean to someone who is obviously a lovely soul and very dear to you. So glad that you guys had this time together.

    “The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.” –Elizabeth Foley

    Xoxox, l

  3. This morning as I literally have to drag myself out of the bed in search of my glasses because I can’t see far enough in front of me and don’t remember I placed them, in a moment of clarity, within arms reach, the visual of me as graceful and kite-like seems incongruous Upon true reflection, however, the metaphor is quite accurate. One of the many beautiful things about our relationship – and there are many – is that you have always had your hands on the string to help ground me; to show me the brilliance of life on the ground, to convince me,when I needed convincing the most, that I was/am up to any and all challenges in my path and most importantly reminded me that with one foot in front of the other inevitably I will once again be able to be the kite should i choose. It’s not so bad on the ground at your kitchen table you know. Safe. Cocooned in the warmth of your smile and viewed with eyes that have always seen into my soul. And, the Sirs just added to the calm in the kitchen; listening, comforting, protecting. The rain was Tuesday’s gift to us. And, Lori’s quote above describes us to a “T”. This quote will be what I reflect upon in my journal tonight. So, on this Saturday morning, missing you as I do on every morning between our visits, I am working on the calm I need to take root in my soul so I can keep those feet on the ground. The sunshine helps, As long as I need to be the anchor, I know I can do what I know in my heart I have to and what I know in my soul I want to. Mimi, I don’t have to tell you there are tears running down my cheeks as I type this. They are tears of hope borne out of the encouragement and support and time we were gifted last Tuesday. AND your absolute belief that I can do what I need to do. It’s always been that way – for both of us – from 7th grade. To the moon and back. All there is.

    • Deb wrote me offline and was hoping that you would enjoy this as much as I delighted in its writing..No tears honey, just smiles. Hold onto the moments we laughed, the silliness of not taking ourselves too seriously – and that which you need to do may not feel so heavy. You are amazing and you are deeply loved…all there is.

      • Words that warm my soul more than the sunshine – and we both know that’s BIG! Hope you are able to feel the hug I am sending your way and see the smile that starts with my eyes and ends deep within my soul. Always. All there is.

  4. You write this with such perfection. I am so taken with your description of her, the kite, the need for the footpath, and the thought that, yes, beauty and goodness can be found down on the ground as in the air above us.

    What a wonderful friend you are and that you have in Joanne.

  5. Your writing brightens and warms my spirit. I’m glad both of you got so much out of your visit. Thank you for sharing parts of it with us. Each of your posts is an oasis. I enjoy your welcoming shade, eagerly drink pure refreshing water from your spring, and thirst for more.
    Russ

  6. To echo everyone else, simply beautiful…the friendship you and Jo share, and the way in which you express in words, the time spent together and the description of Jo herself …which also tells me even more about the amazing friend I have been lucky enough to learn that you are – and to that I add my admiration and appreciation..these words, this line, jumped off the screen to me:

    “Yet life teaches you that sometimes you have to be grounded. You have to move forward in the far less appealing, plebian way of placing one weighted shoe in front of the next. There is the need to be present when present is the very last thing one wants to be.”

    Your summation of this reality, truth, was as if a gentle, wise teacher entered the room, to remind me of the importance and necessity of this…and I relaxed and nodded and smiled. Yes, yes, there is the need to present even when it’s the last thing I want to do…

    Thank you dear friend…for being the friend you are to Jo…for that just makes our world all the better, for being the friend you are to me, and for sharing your wise ways…

    xoxo

    • Oh Bon, sometimes there are words that resonate with us all…I think I used to fly more than I do these days – which isn’t a bad thing. More an awareness that there is a need for the calm (even when it doesn’t feel particularly calming) to place your feet on the earth and feel the benefits of standing in your truth. And I love you honey..xoxo

  7. It certainly is among my favorites too! The metaphor that is resonating with all of us is so real because every one has had or has been “the kite” at some point in their lives, but not every one is as lucky as I am to have a friend who respects, loves and cares enough to pull on the string and present the hard truths when one needs to hear them. Feet are on the ground- for now. A powerful work ethic is something we were raised with. It is not frightening, it just was not part of the plan during this chapter. This kite is secure in the knowledge that her very dearest friend will let help let out the string when the time is right. It doesn’t get better than that.

    • It is really true – to come full circle all these years later and resume as if no time has passed. It’s a blessing – as all friendships are..hugs, m

  8. “…it is the intimate awareness that comes from understanding another soul so well that it can call you silently.” Absolutely beautiful. Very well written and poetic. I’m sure Joanne would be touched to read this.

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