March is here and it has a way of encouraging me. Winter will clearly end, sooner or later. The past two snowstorms were not as bad as predicted. The light has changed, and I sense spring is just around the corner. Of course, we must endure mud season first!
The worst mud season I remember was in the late 1970s. That year, I got my Ford Fairlane stuck at the edge of a long, muddy dirt road. It was the end of winter. Spring had sprung in my mind and I was off to visit a friend, Kristin. She and I were going to do some practicing for a little concert of folk music and poetry we were planning.
Kristin was staying at a farmhouse not far from here, down a long, undeveloped road. The road had turned from gravel to mud and there were huge ruts. I pulled to one side, hoping to avoid a large rut, and quickly sank. The car was totally mired.
I remember walking the rest of the way in to her house – those were the days before cellphones – and thankfully, her father had provided her with a AAA membership. A few hours later, the car was hauled out of the mud and I learned my lesson about never underestimating mud season.
Speaking of Kristin, we went on to perform in the area, she on her Celtic harp and I with my guitar. These were some of the best times. We were young and hoped to find avenues for sharing the folk songs we loved. The world of work became a priority, inevitably, and our music, though still important to us, took a back seat to earning a living.
The Good Lord surely blessed me with my dear friend Kristin. She continues to inspire me with her creativity and loving nature. When Kristin puts her hands to something, like her harp, beauty arrives. She has played for years at the bedside of patients and loved ones who are passing from this world into the next. Her harp transports everyone into a peaceful place.
When we were younger, Kristin and I spent hours and hours singing and working out harmonies together. We dreamed many dreams during that time about our lives and our creative endeavors. Needless to say, it is with deep appreciation that I call her my friend.
Friendship is on my mind these days as I live through one season into the next and next. The ties that bind are invisible and true, I find. Kristin and I call one another when life is going well and we have something to celebrate about our day, and we reach out when the going gets rough, as it sometimes will. She is a positive and gracious person.
I met with another friend recently, who asked me over to look through her spiritual books and “choose some for my ministry,” she said. While we were poring over her bookshelves, a little volume of poetry fell into my hands. “That one has to remain with me,” she said as I began to open its pages. It was a collection of 60 poems, each one based on a friend of the poet’s.
“Is there one about you?” I asked. She nodded and promptly went to the page and read it aloud to me. Tears filled my eyes as I heard my friend described poetically. It was a lovely poem of just about 12 lines and it spoke of an angelic presence. The poet had captured something of my friend’s beauty and pure essence.
“The poet wrote these 60 poems about her friends to celebrate the year she turned 60.”
I could only nod and gaze at my friend for, clearly, I was overcome with what the poem had stirred in me.
Poetry and music are vital to my sense of life and I hope to never lose them. Some friends leave us in this garden of life – they fade. Still, I look for that time when beauty arrives in the sudden reading of an astute and lovely poem or the way I remember Kristin lifting her hands to play the harp, the sound of those notes filling the room with a full joy that cannot be denied.
In this difficult world of loss and sorrow, of ebb and flow, when life takes unexpected turns and the world goes upside down, I thank God when beauty comes in – certain – and transforms the world in a moment. I thank God for my dear friends who are unafraid to fasten themselves to the invisible and make a way for beauty to arrive.