Sunday, February 27, 2011

Friendships 2

Themes of yoga, music  and the arts.

No photographs, rather thoughts, reminiscences and memories of good friends.

Earlier this month I wrote about Pauline and the unexpected friendship that resulted from a chance meeting in India while I was studying yoga.

My thoughts went from there to how friendships happen, how and why they last, even through long periods apart. I reminisced about how I connected, and remain connected, with many of my friends.

Many of my good friendships have happened spontaneously and having moved around a lot since graduating, most have been formed in the past few decades. And, I am happy to say, still flourish. I am so very fortunate in my women friends, and a few male friends.

I suppose we have largely to thank e-mail; the instant way to keep in touch. But not all my friends are on the internet so letters and phone calls are important.  I enjoy writing letters, even ones that are e-mailed. They may be long by today’s standards, that’s the woman of words again, but often I find friends respond at length too.

But how do you make friends? How do you keep them? The last is easier – by keeping in touch, being concerned, interested and supportive about their lives and telling them you care. Friendship is something you should be prepared to work at.

Many of my friends in Guelph, Ontario, I got to know in the 70s and 80s. And the motifs of music and the arts are present there. Gloria, a musician and writer I got to know through the Guelph Spring Festival; the two Rosemary’s, when one was Women’s Editor at the Guelph Mercury, the other at the Guelph Arts  Council,  and I wrote reviews and features about the arts. Sylvia, rehearsal pianist for the Royal Winnipeg ballet, then a piano teacher, worked in the Music Department at the University of Guelph; Stanley, like me Welsh-born,  was head of that Department.

Kathy and I shared dance classes; John and I formed a duo that gave dramatised readings. Janice I also connected through a mutual interest in and writing about the arts and our love of cats.

My concern for animals brought friendship with Sandra, through the Guelph Humane Society.

Other friends, such as Donna, my assistant at the shopping mall in Guelph, and Clive and Lynne in Britain, I was rewarded with by working together.

Returning to live in Britain for some years, I met Jenny at yoga classes; her love of music, as an organist and choral singer, deepened our friendship. Working with the Oundle Music Festival I met Angela, a university professor and also church organist. We may exchange e-mails and letters only a few times a year, but the connection remains strong.

Back in Ontario I got to know Heidi and Heather when we were on the Board of the Federation of Ontario yoga Teachers. Dottie is a writer, Linda an artist. As a yoga teacher I have been, and still am, fortunate to share with some cherished, committed people. Professionally I try not to single out individuals for friendship. Since leaving the Niagara area however many former students, including Heather, Vivian, Susan, Freda, Bonnie, Donna and Dave have maintained a personal connection.

Living more recently in Saint John, New Brunswick, I met Judith sitting together at a concert and asking where she bought her skirt. (Turned out it was Frenchy’s - but that’s another whole story). Haleen I met through Symphony New Brunswick and my ‘other’ Judith and I met at a Women’s Wellness day.

Debra and Doris are yoga teachers in that city; Paula, a Pilates teacher, was the first friend I made there.

Moncton friends include Cheryl who I met at a Yin Yoga workshop, Pauline, who also loves, and sells, antiques, Tammy another yoga teacher and Shayla an artist.

An exception to these themes are Jeanne and Steve Rorke, a warm, sincere American couple. We met while on holiday in Maine, one of all our favourite places, and were actually introduced through their dog Arlo, now sadly in dog heaven.

Whatever brought these friends to me, I am very lucky and truly grateful for every one of them.  My life is richer, my days more complete and my nights comforted by knowing they are there.

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