Spring and rebirth are in the air. The sun is warmer and starting next week the days will seem longer as we "spring forward" to daylight savings time. The Canadian geese are out and about in fine form -- including the one that stopped traffic on the ramp to Lake Shore Drive by just meandering across and hopping up on the guard rail. And baseball is back -- I caught part of the first spring training Cub game on the radio and today they are televised! It is a time to clean out the cobwebs and get a fresh start on life. But as we desire that fresh start and want to start anew, there are threads interwoven in our very fabric that will always be there from the past, for everyone we've met, everyone we've encountered in our lives has left a mark on us, left a little piece that we carry with us always.
I have a friend -- and, yes, I still say that in the present tense -- that I haven't talked to for nearly five years. She was an internet friend first, one that was in the chat room with us on Sept. 11th, one that I exchanged cards and packages with, one that I'd stay up late chatting with. She ceased being just an internet friend when she came to visit in 2004 and then again in 2005. We laughed and talked and hugged, not just virtually, but in real life. She went back to England and vanished one day. I understood her reasoning to a certain extent, but she did not know that the virtual life she was trying to leave was not what we now had. Our friendship wasn't virtual anymore, it was real. I sent emails, I sent notes, but there was no response. So why do I still consider her a friend? Because I understand her, even her leaving, and I know there is a part of me that will always carry a little bit of her.
Spring cleaning is in full force in my home, organizing, decluttering, dedusting (I never really understood the term 'dusting' -- why would I want more dust around?), but there are parts that will stay the same, parts of the past that are now a vital part of me and I can't rid myself of those pieces anymore than I can rid myself of my heart. My friend, and the other internet friends I've met in real life, have woven their way into me, as has Rainy. Though we may all never meet again at least in this world, they will always be a part of me. For as Tennyson's poem Ulysses says, I am a part of all that I have met.
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