I love the Athena Pals, but it was an exhausting weekend and I was so happy to be able to wish them a fond farewell this morning, go back inside to clean up the detritus, and tell the cats "it's okay, no more company for awhile". I was ready for solitude again.
We did a lot of roaming, visiting Port Townsend by ferry, walking the lavender labyrinth at Lavender Wind Farm, eating out at all my favorite spots (Dungeness crab benedict at Neil's Clover Patch! yum!), exploring the little towns up and down the island, and generally wearing ourselves out, then coming back to my house, drinking a bit of wine and talking, talking, talking.
They are all a year older than I, which was a bigger deal when we were teenagers, but is barely significant these days, except that they are all on Medicare now and I have a few months to go. And there were definite physical concerns beginning to show themselves: one was really suffering from old injuries that cause her a lot of pain; another has just had cataract surgery; another has a swallowing disorder that makes meals difficult at times; another is still so lithe and lovely that we were all envious; and I? My feet hurt after all the tramping around, but that was all.
One thing I found very interesting, and I've noticed it in the past. Our experiences as teenagers were so different. I've alluded to that in previous posts, but this visit made me even more aware. They remember people and events that I've never known because of the greater freedom they enjoyed as kids. I know all the horses and the horse people, but not so much the rogues and the rascals. So I was not always able to join in the conversation and just listened in amazement to the things they knew and laughed about.
This sense of separation bothers me a little bit, but not so much that I would change my relationship with The Pals. It's too important to me to continue the connection with people who knew me when I was raw and unformed, just beginning to learn who I was, and who themselves have changed and grown over the past years. We have known each other for 52 years, longer than almost any other friends I've had, and it feels like a treasure to be carefully tended and guarded, so that we might celebrate our friendship for the rest of our lives, however long that may be.