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  • Monique Sliedrecht

Crossing Flight Paths

Updated: Jul 14, 2019


The weather has been foul in the north - that’s the pure and honest truth.

Summer? What is that?


Despite the weather, I’ve tried to focus on moments of sunshine, both figurative and metaphoric. Some of those moments have been real surprise gifts.

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Three evenings ago, after a hard day’s work, our resident artist from Chicago and I decided to escape the wet weather and settle down inside by the fire to watch something. We were about 1/3 of the way into a film when a sudden loud knock was heard. We paused it, and in my somewhat relaxed and drowsy state, I went to open the door. Standing there with beaming faces were 3 drenched individuals. To my great surprise, one of them was a German friend who had been our first resident artist at Freswick … 14 years ago! Even though we lived in Scotland, we both had travelled a lot and our paths had not really crossed. After hugs and initial joyful hellos we sat by the fire to dry off and catch up. A flood of memories came back to mind of some of the wonderful and creative experiences we had shared those many years ago. What a wonderful touch-point and reconnection.

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Three weeks ago I got a text from a Slovakian friend who was going to be in town. She wondered if I was in Edinburgh and if we could meet up. We had not seen each other for 10+ years, but when we met up, it was like no time had passed! Today it is her birthday and the memory of our recent Edinburgh meeting brightens my thoughts. (Happy Birthday Zuzka! :) )

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And then three months ago, on my birthday, I received a message from an Austrian friend that I had spent significant time with at one stage. Since then, while keeping in very loose touch over the last 13 years, the exchanges did not go beyond a brief hello and a few written words. A year would usually pass before the next time. However, in this instance, the conversation continued, extending beyond a few lines of exchange, and connection has been renewed and strengthened through skype calls, writing, and talk of meeting up in one of our respective countries.

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It has been slightly uncanny the recent re-emergence of people I once knew well - old friends coming out of the woodwork after years of little to almost no connection. In all three of the recent cases it has been pure joy. We have pretty much picked up where we left off, filling in the gap of time with ease. It is like no time has passed! That, to me, shows the strength and depth of the relationship that was there before - it just lay dormant for a while.


Of course, we are different people now to what we were then. Experiences change us, and roots have extended deeper in different ways. However, it’s like we grew in the same garden, just in slightly different ecosystems.


Time is a funny thing.


As we get older, it can be hard to make new friends, making these reunions all the more valuable and meaningful.

I’m reminded of a song we learned in school:

Make new friends but keep the old

One is silver and the other is gold…


Every person is a unique and precious plant in the garden of life. Nurturing these friendships brings fullness and great reward.


And now look! There is some blue in the sky! The happy surprises continue...


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And though thou notest from thy safe recess old friends burn dim, like lamps in noisome air love them for what they are; nor love them less, because to thee they are not what they were.

-Samuel Taylor Coleridge-

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