No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; ... any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
--John Donne, Meditation XVII, Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions
Last night I had dinner with two friends whom I hadn't seen in a long time. The reunion was great. We've been through many changes over the last two years--not least the aftereffects of Hurricane Katrina--yet on meeting again, it was as if we had never been parted. We picked up on our old rhythms and patterns, and fell into the same easy rapport as we had before. As in the past, the evening simply wasn't long enough for everything we had to say to one another.
After five hours of nonstop talking, we had to part ways. We agreed to get together once a month to keep the buzz going. I hope we'll do it. I've discovered that having friends who are boon companions is more important than nearly everything else. I am a loner--I need and enjoy time alone--yet I've learned I must make time for friends. Even when I feel grouchy, irritable, and mad at the world, I've discovered that if I make the effort to go out and be around people with whom I have rapport, I'll be glad later--I'll return home feeling refreshed, renewed, relaxed, and connected.