Fall                                            Full Blood Moon

“There is no need like the lack of a friend.”   Irish saying

How many sets of friends do you have?  Not an idle question since study after study shows friendship a vital element of health.  Friends become even more important as we age.  Here’s a couple of examples:  BBC, Science.

Today at noon a group of friends I still consider new, but whom I’ve actually known for almost 5 years, met for lunch at the Black Forest.  It was those from the Docent class of 2005.  We trained together for 2 years, meeting every Wednesday during the academic year for lectures and tour practice.  The education was fun, since I love learning new things, but over time I’ve found the relationships formed then the most important gift.

An introverted guy, I need these kind of stable groups.  I’m fortunate right now to have three groups in which I’ve made networks.  The Docent class of 2005 has, by now, blended into the docents of all classes, in particular for me, those who tour on Fridays, my tour day.  I see these folks at continuing education, on tours, in the docent discussion group and in these more casual events that happen from time to time.

The Sierra Club, the most recent of the three, taps into older networks for me, the DFL political world and the world of community activists, but has opened up a new one in those people whose primary activist commitment is the environment.  I enjoy being around the new generation of political activists, people in their 20’s and early 30’s.  They’re bright, practical, and seem to have a better balance in their lives than I did when I was engaged as intensively as they are.

The oldest network for me is the Woolly Mammoths.  With the Woolly’s I have 20+ years of twice monthly meetings, annual retreats and social occasions outside those events.  We know each other, each other’s story, our families.  We’ve had fights and reconciled, gone through life and death struggles and will go through more.  As a man, I feel so lucky to have this long term set of relationships in my life.