Sunday, February 13, 2011

Companion Bean

Last weekend I attended a conference in D.C. That city turned out to be a Venn diagram of friends from childhood, my Peace Corps days, and several academic roosts. I’ve spent this week catching up on work and sleep, finding myself drinking pints of Emergen-C and staring at the wall.
Here's Bean Pillow in a moment of repose
with fellow pillows on the chaise.
My birthday has once again scrolled up to the edge of the event horizon, which might explain why I’m grooving on heady questions like “what is the nature of friendship?” and “where is my life going?” (these questions run in tandem with “should I stop at Taco Bell or be a good girl and make real food at home?”).
A word about friendship: long ago, I was a Brownie Scout for one year. I loved the uniform that we were supposed to wear to school one day a week. I favored the cocoa slacks rather than the skirt with my printed uniform shirt and wide sash lean on patches. 
Our initiation ceremony involved circling a round mirror three feet in diameter on a Methodist church floor and ringed with votive candles in glass lanterns like cupped hands. We’d been learning the sign language for the song “Make new friends, but keep the old/ One is silver, and the other’s gold.” To make the sign for “old,” grab at the invisible Father-time beard growing from your chin. “Silver”  and “gold” were similar signs, both like jewelry fluttering from your ear.  “Silver” was a thumbs-up that rocked like a pendulum and descended from your ear. Ditto for “gold,” except for thumbs-up substitute hang-ten. (Dear reader, you should know that my father didn’t raise me to be a quitter; I finished the year as a Brownie scout, exulting in the day camp at the end of the year, which pretty much made up for the fact that we sold magazine subscriptions instead of the famed cookies.)
Who can resist bean pillow's sunrise eyes?
I’m grateful that—unlike facility with a volleyball or small talk—the ability to make friends has come to me pretty easily. I can thank my years as an only child, as well as my habit of switching cities every so often.
II’ve felt homesick here in Spokane but not alone. I have some new/silver friends here (well on their way to gold, nay platinum, status). There’s Dickens, my fearless cat. There’s the rowdy Spokane river I see from my apartment window. At my elbow, there’s my delightful bean pillow, made by friend Lemon Cadet. I read her blog Project: Project with joy even though I am not a crafter (a trip to Michael’s makes my palms sweaty). I experience a kind of contact buzz from her documented crafts that elevates me to a higher self.