Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Just Passing By

Marían was an old friend of mine who dropped out of my life for no reason. I say no reason, but of course there's always a reason why we cross each other's paths, fall in and fall out or stay put.

We are all teachers and students of the one constant that needs reminding: compassion.

Marían and I had traveled together to Spain twice and our families were close; she had asked me to be a bridesmaid at her wedding; she had a key to my apartment in Miami; she was the kind of friend who'd show up with a cold bottle of Chardonnay if she'd had a fight with her man; my door was always open, my heart available to console.

On this day, we wandered the forest near Miraflores de la Sierra, an area north of Madrid where she had spent many blissful summer childhood days. We had just eaten a wholesome, filling lunch at an inn where she had shared the same plate of beans, the same asparagus and the same cool wine with her mother. It’s as if a still life had remained fresh, without getting stale or dusty, the memories of a meal rising once again from the garlicky broth and fragrant vegetables.

After lunch, we walked. She told me the story of her mother's passing and how the rustling sounds reminded her of peaceful, childhood strolls. She had held her mother’s hand. They had picked berries.

The mountain air was gentle, touching the leaves of trees much in the same way one would touch and lullaby a baby -- at least this is how I felt about the mountain air, so unused to as I am to such precious ether, living here in Florida.

Although I had never met my friend’s mother, I knew she was there, walking quietly in the forest.

Then, slowly, out of the thicket, this horse approached us gently. The beast was quite docile and lovely, indulging our hands in a few caresses of its juvenile mane.

Marián laughed, predicting what I’d say, knowing so well my twisted sense of humor: "If only men were so tame."

I ask myself today, if only friends were so faithful. I'll admit it's often harder to forgive the passing of friends who haven't yet physically died, than it is to let go of the folly of men.

Do I love my friend any less? Of course not. I hope she is well, enjoying the peace and happiness she felt here, wherever she may be.

Photo by yours truly. See more of Spain at Flickr. Read more Spain travel stories at Meridian.

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nonee moose said...

I sure hope you're thinking of binding these...

Glad you are feeling stronger.

Sinfonian said...

Oh, Maria, I'm so sorry to hear of your travails this summer, and I'm even sorrier that I've been "one poor correspondent," as someone once sang.

Please keep me - and all your readers - posted on your progress, okay. Hugs.

- J.

Verticus Erectus said...

"The folly of men"? "The folly of men"? I thought you liked us. Anyway, we like you. Glad to see you're back writing again. BTW, that's not a horsey, it's a pony, little ms urban chic chick.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a touching, moving, tribute to a friend. I've lost touch with a few old friends and can totally understand how that happened. ;)

ADW said...

I missed you. It seems we are both thinking about lost friends.