This picture was sent to me by my friend Iggy. I find it special because most of my friends have a particular animal that they identify with. There is a weasel, a rabbit, an eel, a squirrel... Guess who is the cantankerous camel?
The picture is also a nice reminder of a weekly gathering I host at my house. Every Wednesday night, I invite a small number of friends over for dinner. Usually no two weeks in a row have the same group, so there are constant reacquaintances, new friends made, and the chance to watch faces light up when there are reunions of people who haven't seen each other in years. We enjoy pizzas and drinks and seasonal treats (Plum cake season is here!) and stay up past our bedtimes talking about whatever's on our minds -- food, art, work, family, health, love...light conversation, you know! It's really nice to catch up with people this way, and between everything else in my life (and theirs) it's often the only way we'll ever see each other more than once a year.
I don't think I'm being sentimental when I say that there's something transcendent that happens when good friends gather. Beyond the food and the chatter, there's something else going on. Our friends are our sources of comfort, reminding us of the past and letting us enjoy the present. But they are also the stewards of our dreams, helping us to learn who we are and to bring our hopes to fruition. A toast, then, to friends.