How on Earth do we Discover Each Other?

How do we become friends with whom we become friends? How do we mill through a plethora of faces on a single block, or one or two to the mile, and voices, and shrugs of shoulders, and glides of step, and find ourself attached like sap to a fingertip, feather to wool, wind to a willow, dew to a grassblade, toad to a tree trunk, for a duration–a year, two, a lifetime–with whom we find ourself unafraid to think out loud, or hope, cheer the opposition, or cry helplessly?

How is it I link up with X and Y, and X links up with me and with Z, but not Y? Z and I say hi in passing, in crowds, at events. We could, any three of us, sip coffee together, attend a movie together, share a meal, discuss the fourth’s current troubles about which we each and all are privy, but Y shares some of life’s depth just with me, not X, and Z with X but not me. Because of the wonder of connection.

Certainly, none of us shares all the same cares, none of us cares as deeply, learns as fully, wonders as profoundly about any of those matters that bury their matter in our skin as each other does. And yet to certain one(s) we can say: My friend, I trust you as deeply as I do my closely held journal. My friend, you have my heart.

Nest, Sunnyside, NYC
Nest, Franklin Square, LI, NY

One could say commonalities of thought, of response to thoughts, of experience, but how much more often are these the outcomes of the original connection; we share thoughts and experiences because we are friends, because we are close. But the buzz that originally says this person, this person, seems more often than not to not have markable origins. It began at a time. It began at a time in space. And crossing that space was, is, what? a wave? a scent? a thought? which paired with the one on the other side of that space in that time.

And, by where we were born, and where our lives take us or keep us, this, too, determines who we even pass, see, meet, know. And it plays, I think, into who we even notice. But does it do so only by dint of geography? Is not attention involved? There is a raft of questions I can assemble here, but I will not. That is yours to ponder, and mine, on our own.

Tulip poplar, spring 2020, softening the line of sight that includes power lines.

I think there is no good reason to not to care about everyone. We are all from the same basic elements, the same elements that every living structure is built from. We can and why would we not, respect the importance of every element, and live knowing that and being that, but we can and do immerse ourself only in some. At the expense of no one, of no thing.

A bicyclist just pedaled by, a balding man on a pale blue city bike. A Carolina Wren just sang while perched out front on the elbow of my weeping birch. Haydn’s Surprise Symphony just came to a close on my radio/CD player/MP3 player. The Rose of Sharon tree outside my west window, half dead, is also half alive and blooming hundreds, thousands of while roses of sharon with rosered centers. The bees are visiting them. A card sporting a painting of a cottage on the island of Vinalhaven, Maine by Mildred Moss Cheney (1910-2002) sent to me by my friend Jane is tacked for my viewing pleasure to the crossbar on my desk lamp.

*Photographs are inserted just because.

Author: Kate Hemenway

I like to explore, to observe. I like to be within what is around. There is always something to wonder about and to ponder. There is always something.. My favorite ways to get to places are bicycling and walking; or reading, or thinking, or asking. Please feel free to ask back, as I continue to wonder out loud, express joy or concern, or, sometimes, talk through my hat.

2 thoughts on “How on Earth do we Discover Each Other?”

  1. It seems to me that the rules for who and whom changed about a generation ago. In your first paragraph you used whom twice in accordance with the old rules. But in your fifth paragraph you used who twice where the old rules would require whom. I think either you are evolving or you are a fence sitter!


  2. Like reading your stuff.
    Want to share a thought about caring for all….and as a girl raised in my own hometown consider my point of view.
    FHS..Gordon College…Nassau Comm Coll…finally Stony Brook…in Suffolk Co.
    Then after that transition I found myself walking the streets of lower Manhattan and congenially smiling at passer-bys.
    I got some rude leers back from men who in response eyed my feminine private anatomy boldly.
    Yikes….too many people congested to be openly friendly with. A lesson quickly relearned.
    Just sharing.


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