On Friday I taught my 11 - 12 class, went home, loaded up the girls and we headed south to Utah. We take Highway 93 south into Idaho, going over a Pass between the states that can be pretty scary in bad weather but the roads were decent and the drive was stunningly lovely; I took this from the car just south of the Pass.
Unfortunately the personal dog/antelope park was snowed in so we had to skip that on this trip. We made it down to Utah without incident, and I am once again struck with the crazy contrast between the spacious, uncrowded life in Montana and a very busy life here. I feel like I get transported to another life when I come down here, and it definitely makes my head spin a bit! It is not bad -- it is just SO different.
Yesterday I sent Galen and Tanner to the hippie dog food store to pick up some stuff; here is Galen all dressed up for the occasion!
Actually, he was dressed up for a later occasion that involved GIRLS -- and not the furry, four-legged (safe) kind. Anyway, while at the hippie dog food store he ran into (not literally, thank goodness) one of our longest Utah friends, Kayla. Galen called me to see if I was home so Kayla could come over; of course I was thrilled to have the chance to see her!
So two things about this... First, I met Kayla when I was training my first two berners, Emma and Darcy, at a park. She was riding her bike and stopped to talk with me about the dogs. Long story short, she and her husband, Darek, wound up getting her first berner, Lucy, from Margie Reho, and we all became friends. It was Kayla and Darek that I called at midnight when I needed someone to come to the ER and get nine year old Galen from the hospital as I was about to have an emergency appendectomy.
Darek died of Melanoma several years ago -- a promising and kind person who left this earth way too early; he was in his thirties :( I ride the bike I bought from him - it is the one in the loft -- and think of him frequently; his memory reminds me to be grateful.
So the second thing that I wanted to mention about this is that on the way down to Utah I was talking to my sister, Julie (as opposed to my sister, Christine). Did you know I have two sisters? I do -- and two brothers! Anyway, I love my sisters!!!! I was telling Julie that I had been thinking about how my new life in Montana has taken up so many of my "little soldiers" and not left many available for things like staying in touch, mailing presents, birthday cards, and so on. I feel badly about this -- it is not that I do not care because I do -- but it is just that it takes a lot to start a new life and a new job and have part of my life still in another state and so on. And so some things that matter have not gotten the attention that they deserve -- just because there are not enough little soldiers in my emotional army.
Seeing Kayla was so wonderful -- it was like no time had passed at all. And I was reminded of two things. First, old friends are so important and wonderful; they share a piece of our history and know us in ways that new friends do not. It was so neat to be with someone who knew all my berners, knew Abra as a young dog, played with Maize as a newborn, and has watched Galen grow up. Second, real friends understand and do not require constant tending to stay connected; the connection is there even when time passes with no real contact.
The juxtaposition of two things -- talking to Julie about feeling badly about not staying in better touch with people who matter and then seeing Kayla -- tells me that it is definitely time to reassign some of those little soldiers. I want to be more mindful of the need to reach back and out to people like Kayla who are important pieces of the tapestry of my life. I got Kayla's new email and invited her to Montana -- I hope she comes!!! And here is Kayla with Zoey -- aren't they both beautiful :)
Although we cannot be friends with everyone on the planet, the people who are placed in our paths are apparently there for a reason. I do not think it is a coincidence that Galen and Kayla were in the same place yesterday given the conversation that I had with Julie the day before, and I honor and respect the cosmic reminders that we get when we need them. My goal for the week is to tend a few more relationships that have been neglected during the past 18 months, and hope that I find them as warm and comforting as the one I have with Kayla.
Happy Valentine's Day -- let's all share the love with friends, new and old (silver and gold).