Attachments by the sea

The Island – which for me is the Sea Pines gated community at the southern toe of the Island  – was mute today.  The weather was cloudy and cool. The frequency of pedestrians (normally dedicated walkers and runners with the associated gear) and cyclists was noticeably diminished. When I walked by my car in the parking lot en route to the bicycle rack, I yearned to drive again.  But driving on the Island is a derivative not of hankering but of desideratum. The motor vehicle passion is however a deprivation I willingly bear when vacationing here because I am intent upon bicycling as much as possible not just enough to merit the fulfillment of a stated distance. The performance is more than strictly athletic. I find that no matter how regularly I visit any one or more chosen spots they always appear different. The mutability of life by the sea is the canon rather than the outlier.

The predominance of my introspection today while cycling was consumed by an analysis of friendship; and, more importantly, an investigation of its clinical prerequisites, import and demands. Perhaps friendship like love – or even a business relationship for that matter – is an association which occasionally is to be considered with a degree of seriousness. Friendship – like the sea – is mutable. This doesn’t mean abandonment; rather variation or shifting like the sands of the sea depending upon the strength of the waves, the power of moon, the circumstances of weather. I doubt there is any one of us who wouldn’t adopt the identical metaphor to the changeability of friendship.

Rightly or wrongly I persist to sustain those friendships which have developed over the years. When I cast but a casual eye upon what I unhesitatingly identify as my friendships, all of them expand over decades – and interestingly their whereabouts are expanded over the face of the globe as far afield as the South Pacific to Paris, France and points in between in Canada and the United States of America. Ironically I confirmed this morning when communicating with one of my friends that our conventions are unrestrained by location; that we can activate or reactivate the erstwhile ingredients without the need of proximity – and in spite of mutability. If nothing else it is a reminder that if she knows why she loves him she doesn’t! Affection percolates instantly among friends.

By further coincidence later this morning I had occasion to chat at considerable length with another of my friends – and much of our conversation was absorbed in the discussion of other longstanding friends.

It may be viewed as superfluous to state these particular credentials of friendship but I am more inclined to adopt the belief that endurance is no accident in anything. Friendship is a precious commodity by any estimation. While its sinews are natural they too require some deliberation and extension for their healthful preservation. It is appropriate for me that these blunt prescriptions should occur at sea level, not only because I suffer a nautical addiction but also because I prefer to get to the point.

Yet another sequel to this armchair philosophy is that friendship is one of the few “things” in life which no matter in what direction they go, the desire to remain attached to the original moorings always survives. Perhaps it is that curiosity which distinguishes friendship from the less meaningful acquaintances in life. Who hasn’t said to one’s friends, “Remember when…!”

And finally I must observe that friends each have their individual problems.  If there is a problem in a friendship, it is wise to recall that perhaps the problem isn’t you, maybe it is sunken elsewhere. It is an onerous task to withdraw oneself from a sense of misrepresentation or hurt when the project is confounded by ignorance. We owe it to ourselves and to our friends to concede the singularity of our friends and of ourselves. What washes upon the beach is not mere flotsam and jetsam but also uncalculated treasure.

Flotsam is defined as debris in the water that wasnot deliberately thrown overboard, often as a result from a shipwreck or accident. Jetsam describes debris that was deliberately thrown overboard by a crew of a ship in distress, most often to lighten the ship’s load.

The word flotsam derives from the French word floter, to float. Jetsam is a shortened word for jettison.