dimanche, mai 18, 2008

Among the beasts

I have just returned a lovely couple of days in D.C. with a good friend. We were housed and fed by one of her relatives, gracious enough to extend family hospitality to me.

Thanks in part to the rain which slowed our progress down to the Washington area and back, we managed to cover an enormous number of topics. From politics we moved to religion-we met in a church many years ago, and although we have slightly different points of view on the institution, we share some fundamental similarities.

We meditated on the vagaries of spouses (and ex-spouses) and the sometimes bestial dating scene. Pages torn from family history and talk about the tribulations of middle-aged friends blended with musings on aging and the challenges of financial planning. Sitting across from the Zoo in bustling Adams-Morgan, I took an hour to meet a new friend. Basking in the midday sun, he and I talked about what it means to be "green", our political leanings and our taste for dialogue with those who differ. Then we said goodbye, and my friend and I strolled among the cheetahs and tigers-the big, carnivorous cats being of a particular interest to my friend.
I was just happy to be among the beasts-an appropriate setting to describe a difficult relationship with a friend. I do not sunder friendships easily. Delaying that decision for another day, I clambered into the car with H., awaiting a stroll through the fabulous Dumbarton Oaks gardens, a happy dinner with my cousin and his wife, and the anticipation of the next day, when I would see my rambunctious, uppity, bright and loving children again. I wonder if, and when, it becomes easy to be away from them-for more than 24 hours.

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