IMG_1923.jpgPicture this. Some winter day, just before christmas, in a tiny mountain village in southern Poland. Early sixties. Dashing through the snow a one horse sleigh with some young people huddling under the blankets, early morning long before sunrise. Through darkness to a tiny wooden chapel in the forest, where the voices of mountain singers fill the air with traditional christmas songs. One of the travelers is a 14-year-old boy from the village, who looks at the young woman in her twenties who is mesmerized by the music.
Many, many years and lives later, my mother receives a package with a christmas card and a CD. Instead of the well-thought-about “Seasonal Greetings!” the message bridges over time: “… even though I was only a teenager back then, I remember how you were fascinated by the simple beauty of those songs in the small church in X. These days, I have a wife and two songs, and we enjoy singing together. This CD is our recording – what it lacks in technical perfection, it should make up with our sincere best wishes and prayers for you and your family…”
I suck at keeping in touch. I am probably a person who NEVER ever will have Time to do, think, say, spend time with anything/anybody, without making an effort. It is easy to say and think that I just happen to live on the other (sunny) side of the planet than most of everybody else (even though the Everybody(tm) is doing a nice effort of living on the same shaky island as I am), but I see now that it is just a lousy excuse.
My family’s been always living far away from their particular “everyone else”, but still Mother can count over ten friends so close that they can be counted on for help in a difficult situation, that always will be ready to offer shelter and food if needed. I guess that does not happen just by being far away and concentrating on one’s personal small and great worries that are sometimes too big, too shapeless, too difficult to grasp at any level at all, not to say resolve…
IMG_1939.jpgI have no idea where I will be in 20 years; wondering if there will be someone who knew me when I was 20 and still would keep in touch even though living far away from my daily life, I make a promise for new year. I usually make a promise for the new year to become a better person in some way – not that it would have been successful so much, but “vain lottoamalla voi voittaa”. This year I promise to do my best to keep in touch, write at least some e-mails to the ones I care about. It should not be so hard, shouldn’t it?
(Not receiving personal communication from me does NOT mean I would not care about you, just that I’m still the same old introvert narcist who can not keep promises. Last year I promised to stop worrying about everything and strangling myself with stress – did not do much…)
During my last days in Helsinki, Mother hangs a candle outside the door to welcome me back from where ever I was. Familiar sound of the dishwasher and peaceful breathing of the Dog carry me off to sleep, once more.

4 thoughts on “Ties

  1. Dear heart, I would rather see you or even hear from you once in five years than have you feel that you are somehow a “bad person” for not keeping in touch as often as some norm (or your own guilt) specifies.
    As I just yesterday said to Orava, it is weird how with some people you immediately lose the connection if you do not make the effort, but with some the feeling of closeness only fades very slowly and you immediately feel at home no matter how many or few days have passed since the last meeting.
    (This is not to say that I would not like to hear from you or miss you, of course, but I won’t have you thinking that you somehow “owe” me stuff for the friendship, or feeling guilty for not living up to those debts. Also, don’t you think that just the effort of updating this log is in itself an enormous gift to all those who are interested in you? It can never be the same as personal contact, but you should not consider it a completely meaningless communication format either.)

  2. People come and go, things change. That’s a fact of life. If there’s a true connection between two persons, it will bend and last through distance and time. If not, it will break at some point anyway no matter how hard you try to hang on to it. Ie, friends are not obligations, just friends.

  3. Word, Grumpy.
    I suck at keeping in touch, as well. Still I have several friends that I see once a year, tops, and when we meet, it’s just like Janka said. Like we’d never been apart. Except that we then have a lot to talk about, which is nice. 🙂

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