I spent the last week of September with my good friend, Paula, in the wilds of Algonquin Park, Ontario.

She registers hikers and canoists who enter the park’s northwest corner, the most remote and least used access to the 2400 lakes of the extensive Algonquin Provincial Park.

Needless to say, the wildlife, the water, the total silence,  were a balm for my soul. I loved the simplicity of my time there; spent hiking, cooking soup, sweeping the cabin, etc. …tending to the basics of life. Off the grid.  Just a chance to get caught up with an old friend.

She and I go way back, 1993 to be exact, when we were students at Kripalu Center for Health and Yoga in Lenox, Massachusetts, earning our Holistic Lifestyle Teacher Training certifications.

We bonded over our need for more protein! At that time Kripalu was not air-conditioned, it was a hot and humid August, and the vegetarian fare didn’t quite meet our needs. Every other day we walked into Lenox for tunafish sandwiches. We discovered that we shared a love of pioneers, the outdoors, natural health and cherishing family as central to our lives.

Our friendship has continued despite the fact that she lives in Ontario and I in Pennsylvania.

One of Paula’s many talents is as co-host of a weekly radio show in her hometown of Huntsville, ON. The show is called “Soul Matters” and she had me on as a guest to discuss, aptly, “The Soul of Friendship”.

We mulled over many aspects of friendship, including of course, ours. We touched on the beauty of holding a space for each other throughout the years, of witnessing changes in each other’s lives, and on cultivating non-judgment as we sometimes see each other stumble and fall. But always in the background there is the unconditional love, knowing that the other will simply be there whenever needed. And the laughter. Always the laughter and the joy of being together.

In one of those bits of synchronicity, the very day of our show, the following poem came through a daily reading to which I subscribe, perfectly encapsulating my thoughts: ( gratefulness.org)

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“Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.”

OCTAVIA BUTLER