how did it go so fast, we'll say as we are looking back, and then we'll understand we held gold dust in our hands...

Today, I know exactly what it is I want. I spent the day yesterday with almost all the people I love together in beautiful places eating excellent food and laughing until the tears ran down our faces. And even though I have had friends and laughter and good food and perfect landscapes all summer, finally, this time the equation was right.

Yesterday it suddenly became clear to me that the restlessness I have been feeling stemmed from the absence of these people in my life. I only see it and feel it now that I remember what wholeness is, now that I have seen all of us gathered back together again.

We know each other so well—what we love, what we hate, our families, our pasts, our faults, our tics—that when we bring to light the recent messes of our lives, we end up just laughing at ourselves and how absolutely ridiculous and silly and stubborn we all are. All our defenses come down; we have seen each other at our worst and at our best, and yet here we are still.

But what surprised me most about yesterday is how natural and organic it still feels. We didn’t get caught in the rut of catching up; it felt like living, real living. I am reminded of my reasons for staying in Santa Barbara this summer…because this community I have here is rare, and I want to live in the presence of these beautiful and wise women for as long as I can.

I stopped and looked around the room several times, tried to hold on to these fleeting moments, catch snatches of all the conversations going on around me…but they were going so fast, so naturally, without silences, no awkwardness. And for some reason, I started looking at everyone’s hair—the blacks, the reds, the browns, the blondes, the curly and the kinky and the straight and the braids and the frizz…and saw something so beautiful I got a shiver down my spine. How messy and individual and quirky we all are, but so beautiful, more beautiful together in the contrasts than we are separately.

Well, this morning, I woke to see all of my roommate’s belongings in a little corner of our bedroom, stacked neatly in three piles. So many people have been walking out of my life lately, without any promise of seeing them again in the next few years. And every time a wave of sadness washes over me for all the times I’ve been too caught up in my head to see the good that has surrounded me and embraced me so consistently these last four years.

And so I’ll say now what I never said enough: thank you, I love you, and Godspeed, my dears.

may the road rise up to meet you
ay the wind be always at your back
may the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand

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