It's been awhile since I have written anything. I've been busy, pulled deep inside myself reflecting and licking some wounds. The theme turning over and over in my mind these days is community. What exactly is community to me, and why do I feel such a lack of it right now.
This summer was tumultuous, my sense of support and friendship have been rocked, shaken down for their last dime. For me living in a city has always meant a slow uphill process to making friends. While Portland, OR is the friendliest city I've ever known, a city it is and in the city people are very busy and already have their own community of friends to tend to. In the city everyone is in a hurry and there are just so damned many of us.
When we lived in Missoula, MT there was the ever present sense that by living there you had chosen a life that wasn't terribly easy but amazingly rewarding. That sense was a silent bond that ran through every single person in that valley. We are all in this together. It was so easy to spend time with the people you love, the speed of which a back yard barbecue could be organized was amazing...even before cell phones.
By the time we moved away from Missoula I was frustrated that I couldn't walk to the bank, or anywhere for that matter, without running into 2-5 people I knew and felt pressure to stop and talk to. Now all these years later every cell in my body is craving that slow pace, craving the leisurely stroll surrounded by so many people who I care about and who care how my life is going. Now we run errands for weeks and months on end surrounded by people without seeing anyone we know.
Perhaps it is being a parent that has deepened this urge for more community, although I did feel it long before Cora. Now that she is here it isn't just a feeling but an ever present knocking inside my head. I am never lonely with Cora and Scott but somehow we are lonely together, wondering where our people are.
It hasn't always been this hard for us, for me, but this summer we said goodbye to not one, not two, but three of our good friends and their daughters. One by one these families who we had grown close to, who we shared meals with and the births of all of our children together, left. Flew the coop. See ya later when our kiddos are much bigger and too many things have happened to share with each other.
In a place where it takes such a long time to cultivate a friendship the loss of my close friends has been devastating. All three of them had daughters under the age of two. I thought Cora would grow up with these girls, that we would all take turns watching our kids and picking up great beer for each other. My friend Deanna and I would swap massages and homemade cookies with a speed that could make your head turn. My friend Tele was always there when I needed someone to talk me down off the ledge and my friend Jen was the best for spending a lovely afternoon with exploring different and kid friendly parts of our city. Now they all call the east coast home with their partners and daughters. Ironic since that is where I grew up, they have all returned and I sit out here feeling like a light house on the Pacific.
So here I am my life so full of love and happiness yet yearning for friends to share it with. It feels very off balance and it takes a tremendous burst of energy to right the balance. I am slowly getting there, begrudging the process and mobilizing my efforts to yet again build a community. I told Scott the other day that I feel like a spider whose web was just blown apart, I am scrambling like crazy picking up the strands and weaving them back together. It is tiring and hard to get excited about doing this, starting at square one again but square one is where I am and there is only one way back to balance.
Later this week I am meeting a group of moms that our midwife put me in touch with. All of these ladies have delivered their babies in the last 8months with the same midwife so we should have many things in common. At least I hope we do. I hope we laugh easily and pass our babes around with trust and let each other try our cookies and pie and delight in each others reactions. I will do my best to have an open heart.