Establishing a new friendship is a wonderful thing in anyone’s life, I think. I marvel at how we connect with people… some stick and some move on. I never really know when a simple bit of conversation and eye contact might turn into a durable friendship. Our friends Eric and Traci come to mind. Happenstance brought us together to watch and photograph a sunset over Portland. Today, we enjoy their friendship and appreciate being a part of their lives on occasion. Anndee is another one who I met in a lighting class and found a friend who brings new thoughts and experiences to my life. Other friends have come through our work lives… lots of these people, really. Perhaps it is that we spend more time with people in the work environment and that allows us to build an awareness of their character and qualities. Of course, some of the people one encounters never “stick” as friends. It’s amazing, really, how we filter our lives.
And then there are the people who not only become friends but who lead us to yet other new friendships. A cascade of relationships with common friends is really rewarding. We are in the initial stages of what could be one of the most interesting and rewarding new friendships I’ve had in some time. It all starts with our friend Shyamal who Dianne befriended at work and who became a dear friend to both of us. It is Shyamal who provided the incentive to visit India where we formed friendships with many others, particularly a few who “hosted” us in different parts of India. One of these people is a remarkable man by the name of Bhaskar Das. Bhaskar is one of the truly nice people on earth and brings a lot of passion and experience to his friendships. We are fortunate to call him “friend”.
Our circle of friends centering on Shyamal expanded recently as we worked together to find a way to get him a camera memory card and Dianne some fresh pashminas from India. The exchange was facilitated by a wonderful young lady named Katy who used to live near Shayamal in Portland and who thinks of him as a brother. Katy was heading to Nepal to volunteer as a physical therapist and then to vacation in India for a few weeks. She agreed to shuttle the camera memory card to Shayamal and to bring the pashminas back to us. Katy entered our lives over tea in SE Portland and we believe she will be one of the people who “stick”.
But it gets better. Katy was fortunate to have Bhaskar lead her on a trek into the Himalayas from Darjeeling and show her the Neora Valley. Her sister, April Ruth, joined Katy at the last minute and shared the time with Bhaskar. We knew that these ladies would love Bhaskar and that proved to be the case. We met April Ruth and Katy for tea on their return to the USA and found that the short visit was not nearly enough. They accepted an invitation to dinner and we began to plan a menu of Indian food to get us all focused on our common experiences.
Last night Katy and April Ruth showed up with a gift that immediately told me that there is a lot of connection between us that I had not thought could be there. They brought us an orchid. Now, visitors bringing us an orchid has history in our house thanks to our friends Deigh and Jon and Barbara. I absolutely love the delicate features of an orchid. The new one offers a pastel palette of colors that deepens into saturated colors as you descend into the flower’s interior. The plant is rich with blooms and a few buds to extend the beauty soon. Yes, I took a few photos of the orchid today. I can hear our friends in Medford laughing… can’t I Jon and Barbara? I promise to be a bit more restrained with this one though.
So, Katy and April Ruth joined us in a goal of bringing our friend Bhaskar to the USA to teach and learn. We hope to design and build a sponsored program for him to get here and in which he can see parts of the USA, climb a mountain or two and exchange his passion for outdoor adventure as a means to enrich children’s lives and build a durable appreciation for nature and its wonders.
Thanks, Katy and April Ruth. Your gift will be a centerpiece of our daily lives for a long time. Both the flower and your friendship enrich our lives.