It constantly amazes me how you can live close to someone, maybe even right next door, and never really know them. And how you can live hundreds of miles away from someone else and feel as if you’ve known them all your life — a kindred spirit you have yet to even officially meet in person.
Fifteen years ago, I felt that connection with one of my best friends. Josh and I chatted on AIM when AIM was still the only vehicle of online conversation. Then we emailed, then we called, then we Skyped. We’ve never met in person — not yet — but he has seen me through some of my best days and darkest nights. He is a soulmate in every sense of the word.
Because of this friendship, I always believed in the power of the internet — bridging the distance so that the miles between seem more like a nuisance than an obstacle.
Then along came Twitter…And everything changed again.
Acquaintances formed through conversation and link-sharing, through commenting on blogs and supporting each other through our rough times. Then there were the Facebook friend requests, then there were the gchat conversations, then there were the phone calls.
And then, friendships were further cemented with visits — the kind where you meet for the first time and hug and grin ridiculously and wonder how you never knew this kindred spirit existed.
Anna and I met via Brazen Careerist when she commented on one of my featured posts a few years ago — she’s the one who recalls this; my memory tends to be hazy, as the beginnings of friendships usually are for me when I feel like I’ve known someone my whole life. But I do remember she was one of the first people to follow me back on Twitter, and I do remember that I respected her blunt and honest opinions — something I still highly value — and I do remember thinking how similar our stories seemed: writers working through a corporate culture.
So Anna flew up from Georgia to visit for the week, and the happiness and peace I’d begun to feel for this life these past few weeks spilled over as I surrounded myself with laughter and friends.
(And now come the pretty pictures…)
We spent a morning walking through the Hershey Botanical Gardens…
And we visited the butterfly house on the grounds of the gardens. Fun fact: Moths form a cocoon,while butterflies form a chrysalis…which made us conclude a) the Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar was completely wrong and b) the word itself is beautiful and poets should get on that (I’m not naming any names, Nean).
I drove Anna through the back country roads of Lancaster County, where farmland stretches for miles and preserved wooden bridges provide a glimpse of something simpler, something stronger — as if everything could change, become updated and more refined, but this structure will remain standing, will last as long as it needs to…
We visited the battlegrounds of Gettysburg, and I thought, how lonely, how much loss, how much grief and pain and sadness.
And now, just maybe, how much peace…
Before she left, Anna was kind enough to do a photoshoot with me for the blog…
(!Check out the rest of the set and all of Anna’s photography)
These moments…These are the moments that make memories, the moments wherein happiness grows and love thrives, moments among friends. They may be old friends, they may be new friends, but either way, they’re in your heart now.
And there they’ll remain.
So thank you to the friends I’ve met for helping me believe in the beauty and worth of this space a little bit more.
And to the friends I’ve yet to meet — may our paths cross soon.