Pilgrim Path

This blog is the work of a seeker and poet. Walking stick in hand, I head out into the world, not of the world, but in the world. My words and my friends carry me along and light the pilgrim path of spiritual journeys.

Monday, April 06, 2009


About 5 years ago, I began an adventure, a friendship, unlike any other. I’m not a novice at friendships. Perhaps the earliest was a nearby one I developed as a toddler with another toddler who lived next door. She spoke baby Lithuanian and I spoke baby English and we seemed to get along famously, or at least that’s what our parents told us.

About a half-century later (why do I insist on going for those big poetic phrases?!), John and I met in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We were attending a weeklong workshop on Spiritual Writing. During registration, I found myself as the rare man in a maelstrom of people. I quickly scanned my class registration sheet and my eyes alighted on John’s name – whew! Now burned into my brain, I began my crusade to find the “Hello, I’m” tag that matched that name.

Tall, Ken-doll good looking with a Southern drawl – nothing, absolutely nothing in common with me, except that glass of Merlot he had in his hand. Noting his home town as being in Colorado, I sidled up to him interrupting a conversation already in progress, introduced myself and

quickly exited with a brief… “See you in class tomorrow.”

Some form of energy shifted in me about 10 years ago replacing a shy introverted guy with a sometimes loud extrovert. Seems that extrovert is encouraged to reveal himself when traveling to places where there’s a good chance he’ll meet people he’ll never see again in his life and who won’t be able to embarrass him with their remembrances of his past indiscretions. And so the table was set for the literal and figurative “bigger than life” Rich to take the stage.

Despite my “over-the-top” antics, John and I found some common ground. We took meals together, had long conversations, discovered some amazing commonalities and generally laid the foundation for a friendship that would last long after we left Santa Fe.

God Bless the Internet! There is hardly a workday that goes by without John and me checking in with one another in one fashion or another. It could be an item in either of our blogs (or even an embarrassing revelation from John’s wife’s blog, like the one where his daughter talked about his sexy butt!). We just feel the need to touch base. Sometimes corresponding about some silliness or other; other times confessing things that we can only confess to one another. Despite our infrequent face-to-face conversations, I always feel as if I am always just picking up the conversation wherever it was just left off. There is an ebb and flow, a natural rhythm that has taken over that just feels organic.

Recently, John had a business trip to Chicago that provided him with a little downtime that we could share together over a meal and a drive around the city. During our time, I was a little concerned about big silent places in our conversations. It seemed as if we’d run out of things to talk about. After a little silent reflection, I came to realize that silence is the deep place where friends let friends rest in each other’s company.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

that is so sweet Rich. Silence has been an interesting lesson for me. I have found that silence between friends can be so intimate. Sometimes that makes me uncomfortable, and other times when I let down my guard I enjoy the peaceful coexistence of a sweet friend. Tim

6:37 PM  
Blogger John said...


Thanks. "I was reminded again how native people don't fill up all available space with chatter. They don't believe that talking is thinking." - Jim Harrison, Returning to Earth

You and I are native people, my good friend. I am grateful for a friend I can be quiet with.


10:15 PM  

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