The summer of 1973 was a magical time for me. I was twelve years old and we had just moved into our new house. Actually it was a creaky old place built in the early 1900’s. But it was new to us. We lived next door and when our neighbours decided to move to a more central part of town, my parents were eager to buy the place. I had spent quite a lot of time in the house as one daughter was my age and we were close friends. The yard itself was over two acres completely encircled with large tees and shrubs. There was an ancient garage as well as a bunkhouse of sorts which my parents eventually used as a master bedroom. It was set off in the trees a short walk from the main house and had a bathroom and sitting area with a small office space as well as the sleeping area. With its ancient gas burning heater it was cozy in all seasons. The yard itself had so many nooks and crannies that I explored for years until I was too cool. There were sleepovers under the stars beside the firepit and some nights saw us camping on the front veranda. That first summer was the year I discovered Anne Shirley. The little orphan girl from Prince Edward Island created by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I spent that summer reading Anne of Green Gables, Anne of the Island and Anne of Avonlea. Anne Shirley introduced me to the concept of kindred spirits that summer and I have seen them everywhere since that time.
My earliest memories are quite happy and content but there was always a feeling of not fitting. Not so much a negative emotion, rather I was always a peripheral on looker. I was the girl who had a friend in every group although I never belonged to any of their groups. I am good one on one. I could spend lots of time with a chum but when the crowd grew to include a few others I was often overwhelmed and felt the need to escape. To be alone. I loved to be alone to read and explore. Even now I live life too much in my thoughts. There is a peace and calm that I need in order to soothe away the energy that comes from other people. Good energy or negative. Both can be just too much. As I read about Anne’s adventures that summer I began to understand where I fit in the world. She taught me about kindred spirits. The people you meet throughout your life that you feel you have known forever. Their energy makes you want to move closer. You feel good with them. And why is that? Because they get you. Or at least that is how you feel. It is such a beautiful feeling. To be understood.
I am not a collector of friends. Having friends takes time and a lot of energy. Most of my friends are social and energetic people. They love others and like to stay connected. They are energized with social gatherings. They absorb all the good vibes when in a crowd. It feeds them. Nourishes them. They do the work that is necessary to stay friends. They reach out. And when they need alone time they take it. These people chose me. They call me. They are there for me when bad things happen but they also give space. They are wonderful people. I am blessed to know them because frankly I am not the leader. I am the yes girl. Others suggest something and I say yes. I truly love to be with them but they are organizers and I jump at the chance to be near them. It is a win win. And then there are the kindred spirits. The people you meet throughout life. These aren’t people you collect. They are the ones you meet. They bring intense feelings of connectedness, and then… poof. They are gone. Leaving behind a sweet memory of a beautiful soul.
I have met so many of these people in my life and I always walk away feeling understood and cared for. The people themselves have become a blur in my memory. I don’t remember their physical appearance really. Time has a way of making us lose the particulars of a meeting. What I do retain is the feeling that I had from my kindred spirits. The intensity rushes back to me as I remember the time I spent with them. The conversations are all gone. Our common interests are gone. They are faceless memories. But I never forget them. These people are reminders in my life that no matter where I go or what I do, somewhere out there is someone who understands me. Who gets me. And they also carry a little bit of me with them in their life. That alone fills my heart that a stranger is no longer a stranger. You see we are all connected. The life force we carry is shared and the energy we put out there doesn’t disappear. It is absorbed by others. My daughter Britt once asked why I didn’t make the effort to keep these people in my life. Get their numbers. Call them. Be involved in a daily friend manner. I wasn’t able to explain it to her but now as a grown woman, I think she understands. It takes time to see your parents for who they are rather than who you think they should be.
Two years ago Rene’ and I took a motorbike trip across Canada. We spent one day driving around Prince Edward Island sightseeing and checking out the many backroads. Of course we went through the house where the author Lucy Maud Montgomery was born. Then we sped off to see the house where she spent time as a child which inspired the location for Green Gables. As we drove closer on our motorbikes I was struck by the time that had passed since Lucy Maud had first stayed with her Aunt and Uncle in this home she treasured. Looking out over the Lake of Shining waters I could feel myself transported back over one hundred years. Leaving our motorbikes in the parking lot amidst the various tour busses we began our wander through the property. Rene wasn’t interested in touring the house so he laid out on the grass for a short nap. As I joined the queue that led through the house I felt somewhat out of place with my leather riding gear and big protective boots. And then I began to read the small blurbs explaining the rooms and giving some history to the house. In a matter of moments I was now twelve years old again. I felt the magic that she must have felt. It was the same feeling I had as a child. Exploring the woods. Making a raft to float in the pond. Make believe friends. I couldn’t stop the tears as I felt this connection to a woman who died twenty years before I was born but also to the feisty misunderstood girl named Anne who she brought to life in those books. I felt a deep longing to return to those endless summer days of my youth when all was right with the world. Memories are magical.
These days I am on a different journey in life. Certainly not where I thought I would be. But then again nothing in my life has been all that planned out. It is just a series of coincidence and happenstance. And so I take it as it comes and I pretend I am in charge. Just for awhile. And as I wander through life, sometimes I find there is someone in my path. It brings me up short and then suddenly I am twelve years old. Here is a kindred spirit. Someone who gets me. Whether it is a parking lot, a bridal shower, a child’s hockey game or the golf course, there are kindred spirits. And as I walk away from one I am never sad. I know we may never meet again. But I have learned there will always be another one in my future. The joy I feel when I meet them will stay with me for a lifetime. You never know when they will show up but you can rest assured it is when you need them the most. You can never look for them or seek them out. They just appear. And the magic in life continues.