Nature and friendships - each are powerful in their own right, but when combined, it seems that they change into something resembling kryptonite.
An email invite from my friend Jen and a date was made to meet up at Centennial Beach in Tsawwassen.
I've walked along the various trails at Centennial Beach, but I can't believe that in all the time I've lived here, I never actually spent any of it as a beach and water baby as usually, I do all my swimming in a pool. Perhaps I was dissuaded because I had always been there at low tide, when the water was a very, very long way off and not conducive for taking a dip or having a swim.
Schlepping done. We set up our chairs and got out our towels. Water and snacks were at hands reach. Sunhats firmly anchored on heads to counter the breeze that was blowing in off the water. Toes wiggling in the warm sand. The sounds of children playing, water lapping against the shore as the tide made its steady advance.
Then, we got down to the business of enjoyment - of spending time doing nothing constructive except for fortifying our friendship with conversation that touched upon both the serious and the comedic, the past, present and future.
I don't see Jen often enough, but when we get together, we pick up from where we left off and catch up on what has been going on in the intervening time. What I love about our conversation is that there is a pleasant rhythm to it. It's a tune that allows for pauses that are comfortable. I feel that there is a give and take in our speaking and listening time - neither one of us particularly hogging the conversation.
When I used to teach English as a Second Language (ESL), I would remind my students that conversation is like a ping pong game. In order to play, the ball needs to be hit back and forth. Holding on to the ball does not advance the game, nor the conversation. The rhythm, whether fast or slow, is a ping, pong, ping of sentences that is satisfying to both parties.
Jen, did you happen to use this analogy with your students, as well?
I particularly appreciate that because there was give and take in the conversation, I didn't have to work so hard to listen. This is especially important when you have hearing loss, like I do. When your hearing is compromised, it takes energy to listen and to process what you've heard. RA (rheumatoid arthritis) has also damaged my vocal cords; if I talk a lot my voice reflects that; I find that can also be exhausting. The balance allows for rest time for both my ears and my vocal cords. Our conversation recharged me, probably because of the breathing room - times when we just sat together silently and at ease, as we took nourishment from nature.
Since that beach day, I have gone back to Centennial Beach several times. Thanks, Jen, for getting the (beach) ball rolling and more importantly, for your friendship!