Sunday, October 02, 2011

Shifting Landscapes


I was sending a long email to a friend last night and I got to thinking about friendships. How hard they are to maintain for some when geographical distances come between and how easy for others who pick up the phone or toss off an email or post on your FB wall or as as a few of my friends and I do, send each other cards or interesting articles from magazines and newspapers. Watering the landscape of friendship. Supportive and loving.

With my move to Newfoundland, I knew which friendships would survive and which ones would perish. And most survived. And one I valued very highly didn't. But I had known it wouldn't due to the lack of effort she made with the long distance gardening tools. No calls initialized, no comments on FB, no letters or emails: no plantings in the garden of friendship in other words. It was left to wither and die.

This new remoteness was further underlined when we took a flight to Europe together (I'd paid extra to fly to Toronto to be with her and catch up on our chat both ways) and on the way back she chose not to sit with me. I still don't understand it. When actions come from a place I wouldn't tread, I am baffled. And mightily hurt.

All part of the shifting landscapes of friendship, I suppose. When actions cease to be out of love and become out of a desire to hurt or punish. To uproot.

I am lucky with the friends who sustain me and love me. And tell me so. As I tell them. It is important that we break down our own false barrier of pride and reach out and say "I miss you", "You are dear to me", "Our friendship is important", "I love you", otherwise how do we know?

I've just renewed a long ago friendship with someone who vanished into the bowels of the USA many years ago. I found her in FB, and she had been searching for me too and had even found my daughter but was too shy to barge right in and e-announce herself.

We knew each other back when. Our twenty-two year old dreams shining on our hopeful faces, making the huge nose-holding leap to sail the Atlantic and find fresh dreams and leave that repressive, strangleheld Ireland behind us. I am so glad we found each other. I would think of her often.

But the old landscapes stay fresh in our memories too. Even if it is just to remind us of how we used to be and never to lose that self. No. Never lose it.

14 comments:

  1. Old friendships are important to me but there are still many that have fallen by the wayside ... or appear to have done so, until we get in touch again and it's like no time has passed. You're right, it does take effort to maintain friendships, even those that are not at a distance. It requires investment of time, and some planning. I think I might get a failing grade on these things sometimes and do appreciate it when it isn't all left up to me.

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  2. I do try to keep friendships going, but it does get difficult at times when all the effort is on my side only. It used to upset me when people didn't find the time to stay in touch, now I just carry on with my life and if they get in touch, I make them welcome.

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  3. SG:
    I haven't lost too many, but those that I have lost seem to be from no effort made on the part of the other, no phonecalls, or letters or emails or no responses to the feelers I have put out which is worse.
    XO
    WWW

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  4. GM:
    I'm like yourself, always available to the overtures of others and moving along when they seem to go into the black void.
    XO
    WWW

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  5. argh!! wrote a long comment on this post, then got my blogger login password wrong, it took me to another screen to try to retrieve it, and by the time I was done the comment was long gone and the little window that comes up to make comments in didn't allow me to "Go Back".

    so, I sympathize with frustration of lost friendship, hope pleasure of renewed friendship makes up for it

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  6. I'm not good at keeping up friendships. The overtures really have to come from the other side. It's not that I'm unfriendly, it's that I tend to be a loner. I'm glad if someone seeks me out, but maybe I don't react enthusiastic enough. I guess it's to keep from getting hurt.

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  7. Annie:
    I am learning on this comment business to always copy before I hit that post button as I've been frequently frustrated too and one blog I read doesn't even allow me to comment which is argh cubed.
    New friendships are lovely too, embarking on that voyage of mutual discovery.....
    XO
    WWW

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  8. Nora:
    Well as I've said before I'm a "gregarious loner". Friendship requires a lot of practice IMHO, like a piano, and equal effort to make it work successfully, like two people tending a lovely garden. (enough metaphors, whoa nelly! LOL)
    XO
    WWW

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  9. I found it hard to keep up letter friendships with those in the UK for long. None of my closest friends in the UK had access to computer. Most old workfriends have vanished into the mists of time, emerging only to mail Christmas cards, scribbled notes within, or in one case a beautifully written newsy annual update from a guy I worked with for 20+ years. I dread each year that this, or some other card will be missing, and another will tell of one of the group having shuffled off this mortal coil. So far, or as at last Christmas, "the gang's all here"....or "there".

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  10. The internet has been powerful for long distance friendships, T, hasn't t?

    My childhood friend and I exchange daily emails, she in Dublin, me in Newfoundland.

    I hope you have made new friends in Oke?

    XO
    WWW

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  11. No - well, except the in-laws, family of Himself. They are all great folks. Nobody outside of that circle. My interests and beliefs contrast wildly with anything to be found here on the strongly Republican buckle of the Bible Belt. Good thing I'm a bit of a loner by nature!

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  12. I keep forgetting about the reality of where you've landed, T!
    However you have a wide circle of us blog buddies which is one of the greatest gifts of the interwebz!
    I know the few I've met in person out of blogland have been instant reality friends too. A shame we can't have more blogmeets due to geographical challenges!
    XO
    WWW

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  13. I've lurked around on your blog for months, always enjoying your posts.

    Today, when I nodded and smiled at your gardening metaphors for nurturing our friendships, I had to write and say how much I agree about telling our friends how important they are to us.

    The saddest thing for me, moving from UK to Spain 8 years ago, was leaving my women friends behind. All those with PCs have remained in touch. The others I hear from snail mail at Christmas. How lovely, too, to catch up with one through Friends Reunited - we'd lost touch 55 years ago. We were schoolchildren at the time and in email-nattering it was as if the years melted away.

    I've gone on too long I think. This is just to let you know how much I appreciate your wise blog.

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  14. Even less than two years after emigrating, I definitely feel the wilting of some of the flowers in the friendship garden - I have to confess that I'm not great about phone calling (particularly when there's a 12 hour time difference) or writing physical letters, but I do my best with Facebook and emails. For some people it is just a little bit too hard - the immediate day to day life takes over, and the longer it goes between communications just makes it even more difficult to take that step to pick up the pen (or open the email) and reach back out.

    Then, for others, it doesn't matter how long there is between emails / letters / calls - as soon as you get back in touch, it is as though the miles and years have fallen away and you can continue the conversation where you left it off. I'm lucky to have a good handful of friendships in this category.

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