One of the finest messages, I think, one can receive is news that a dear friend is visiting.
I met Joelle back in 2008 through the wonders of Flickr. She was searching for photographs of Switzerland (keywords: Rotary Switzerland) and found mine and also spotted that I was living in Seattle, just about an hours drive from her in Olympia. That summer, she drove up to visit me and a went on a 26-mile bike trip together. By the end, we were friends.
Six years later, we still are.
Best friends, at that.
The thing is, I don't see her often. We might, might see each other once a year, if things pan out right.
I have to admit that I get a bit curious about friendships with such large gaps. After all that time, I wonder if our friendship is just words or, if you put us back together for a while, if all that love and connection is still there.
Well, with Joelle, it's still there.
She was coming to Lopez Island for the weekend with her class from Evergreen State College. They were visiting a biodynamic farm and attending a cow slaughtering (that didn't go well, RIP unborn calves that shouldn't have died).
The day the class arrived on Lopez, I wasn't sure where to find them so I started at the farm where I met Adam. He told me they would be at Spencer Spit or Odlin Park. I checked out both and didn't see 'em so I headed home.
Yesterday at 4:30 PM, I went to the farm and there were the group of Olympian in all of their Oly-glory. If you saw 'em on the street, you'd immediately be able to say, "Yep. They go to Evergreen."
They were in the middle of learning so I stood, watched a bit, enjoyed being with Joelle, and then headed back to take a nap in Tobbit where Joelle could find me at the end of the afternoon. 20 minutes later, there she was. A few folks wanted to meet Tobbit and take pictures of him - he is quite a photogenic truck.
I was invited to join them for the evening and took them up on the invitation. Joelle jumped in Tobbit and we set off from the farm to their campsite. It felt so, so good having her in the truck with me.
I sat at the picnic table and serenaded them with the cello as they discussed meal prepped, prepped said meals, made the meals, cooked up nettles, and dreamed of going to the store.
After a meal of vegetables and quinoa, Joelle and I decided to try and catch the sun.
Turns out we have a lot more sun, these days, than I remembered.
I took Joelle out to Shark Reef, one of my favourite corners of the island to enjoy a sunset at - introduced to me by Hannah one of my first times on Lopez. We nestled ourselves into the grass in the rocks and talked about anything that came to mine. We ripped apart the tough questions on our mind and passed back advice and reflections.
After over an hour of enjoying where we were, we decided to move on. We both needed an early night. A few bits of yarrow and rose were picked for later consumption and place into a mug for transport.
I started to drive around the island perimeter to show her the chunk of rock that I now call home. She had only seen a tiny corner of Lopez and I wanted her to get a better sense of it. As the sun set, everything glowed and it was perfect, just perfect. I was giddy down to my ankles and toes to have someone to share that sunset with.
We went down to the other spit where I like to frequently park. The sun was setting right in front of us and we took a couple of seconds to take it in. Then it was to bed for both of us.
I'm grateful for this special time I got with my dear friend Joelle and am eager to see her again tonight and to show her the small piece of land I'm blessed enough to be able to call home.