Old Teen Essays
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Article ID: 4549
Age Group: Adult
Posted: February 18th. 2002
Old Friends and Otters
I was only about halfway across the street before I realized that I should have put on a jacket. It was almost 10:30 P.M. and much too late to be taking a stroll to the store. But since life without coffee is unthinkable and coffee without milk is undrinkable, my goose bumps and I decided to hot-dog it over to the all-night mart anyway. Brrrr! "Think 'hot coffee', Wren"! Think about steaming and deliciously milked hot coffee and keep going!" I practically ran across the access road and was just making the turn into the parking lot when I caught an odd movement out of the corner of my eye. Making a mental note to check it out on the way back, I sprinted for the door.
There's an odd camaraderie between late night shoppers. Whether this is out of some sense of embarrassment over having let the family down by running out of milk or Huggies or cat food, I'm not sure. But it's a sheepish crowd, we 24/7 mart explorers, and not a very talkative one either. We all just want to get in and out with our purchases before we attract too much attention. So in a matter of minutes, I was back into the cold air with an even colder gallon of milk dragging at my arm ligaments. Trying hard to think only warm and Herculean thoughts I had almost forgotten my mental post-it note when I saw it again. Curiosity won over gooseflesh. (So does the woman in the monster movie ever safely stay right where the hero tells her to wait? Nah, me neither.) Setting the milk carton down on the ground, I leaned over the fence and squinted into the darkness. A strange ripple was undulating its way beneath the water in the little swamp. What is that?
Now I'm a pretty well organized shopper and so I don't usually find myself shivering in the dark during a late night mart run. But even a Capricorn can't always figure in all of the variables that the Fates bring our way. Like the sudden and unexpected and totally delightful arrival of old friends upon one's doorstep. That's why I forgot the milk. That's why my fingers might be permanently frozen into the chain links of this stupid fence. And that's why I received two wonderful gifts in the same day.
Toby and Lakshmi are two old friends of ours from up north. In the Clearwater area for a family wedding, they had called us from that very same all night mart parking lot earlier in the day. Five minutes later, we were enveloped in Toby's bear hugs and Lakshami's warm laughter. We easily fell into that effortless chatter that really defines old friendships. Friendships that have stood the test of time and rotating romantic relationships and ups and downs create a magic circle in our lives. Here within the circle of such bonds, we find perhaps the true meaning of 'perfect love and perfect trust'. Within the sacred space of true friendship, time does not exist. Whether one sees such friends every day or once a month or once a year or once in a decade, the conversation just seems to pick up where last it left off. If there comes a silence, it is the silence of contentment and understanding which speaks no words because no words are necessary. Such friends are those who we never really miss because they are always with us and within us. Our friendships become a part of who we are.
We all had a wonderful time, of course, and the hours just flew by. You know how that is. If you have such friends, you are never poor, never alone, and never without love in your life. You don't need to tell your good old friends any of this, of course, but I'm sure that they'd like to hear it from you anyway. Some of the most treasured moments in the circle of friends begin with the words, "Remember that time when we...?" So why not give some of them a call or an email this week? You don't need a reason other than that they are your friends. Like remember that time when Toby and Lakshmi came to visit and...?
"...You forgot to buy milk and found yourself shivering in the dark and trying to figure out what the heck that thing was in the swamp?" As I squinted through the stealthy fog that drifted over the surface of the water, I could barely make out the strange smooth wave of something moving. And then I felt that shiver that one gets when suddenly and inexplicitly, one knows that she is being watched. Glancing over to the cement fragments of the old dam, a shadowy figure was silently skirting the bank in my direction. I must have made some slight movement because the figure stopped short about ten feet from where my fingers were frozen into the chain link fence.
The figure stood up on its hind legs and as it did, a small shaft of light from the parking lot next door illuminated its head. Whiskers twitched. Hers, not mine. We stared at each for a moment- this bright-eyed otter and I- and then a soft chirp came from the water. The male otter rippled himself -that is the only way to really describe such a fluid and graceful movement- up onto the bank and called to her again. Without a sound, she turned and went running toward him. She threw herself at him and they both went rolling head over tail down the grassy hillock. I think that I laughed out loud. I know that I forgot that I wasn't wearing a jacket. I forgot about my frozen fingers, too. Time and temperature had no power here.
For a few brief and enchanted moments nothing else existed beyond the spectacle of the two otters romping on the bank. They tumbled over one another with abandoned happiness. They rubbed noses and whiskers. They mock-chased each other across the fog and then fell into each other's paws all over again. The sheer innocent joy that the otters expressed- the joy of simply being together in the dark and chilly night- created a sacred circle of warmth and light within me. Because I knew just how they felt. Picking up the milk carton, I turned for home.
As I walked, I thought about the bond between the otters; I thought about the bond between old friends.
And I was no longer cold.
Walk in Love and Light,
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, February 18th, 2002
Image credits: The images in this piece are from our personal archieves and feature group shots of members of "Babylon Heights" at the Starwood gathering in Sherman, N.Y. (circa 1995/1996). We hold these friends dearly and long to experience their magick once again.
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