She leaned down, faffed with the fronds and said, “Looks like I have another one too.”
I leaned down to see her baby, just far enough to accidentally tip my open water bottle out onto her porch. “Oh gosh, I’m sorry, can I clean that up before I go?”
My friend waved me off, assuring me that it was no big deal. This is her nature. Always. Without exception. Nothing is ever a problem. She puts others first.
Driving home I thought about the mess I’d made on her porch, and even though it had been nothing more than water, I was struck by the blessing of her grace; how the most precious people in my life extend this gift effortlessly. I thought about the ease of some friendships and the difficulty of others.
Then I thought about the scent we waft, the residue that remains, the mark we leave upon friends we’ve spent time with, the way our presence either raises or lowers their blood pressure: our carbon friendprint.
Not too long ago, likely inspired by being plucked out of a few lives, I went through a mental weeding of my own (not an angry one, mind you), a process of evaluation: a selfish bout in which I questioned the value of nearly every relationship I claimed to hold dear.
Eventually I gave myself permission to let some grow and to let others fall back into fallow ground—no hard feelings for the closeness we failed to nurture, no regret over the empty bounty. A realization dawned: letting them go meant they would find others skilled at giving them what they needed, others who could plant, water and fertilize a beautiful friendship. What I or they or both of us had let die could be reborn, experience having taught us what matters most.
Our friendships are much like Earth’s precious resources, their preservation requiring us to eat locally grown food, or even better, to plant our own…to limit our negative impact on our planet.
Reminded today by an accidental splash of water to celebrate the beauty of my amazing galaxy of friends, all of whom leave the smallest friendprint imaginable, I am inspired to also tread with lighter, gentler, more graceful steps.