You never know how long things will last. These four daisies, for instance. They were part of an arrangement I got more than a month ago, and as I picked the others out one by one as they withered and died, these somehow kept their youthful vigor – if youthful vigor is the appropriate term for plants.
The longevity of flowers led me to ponder the longevity of relationships. I think about the friends to whom I was closest when I was 19, 29, 39, and now 49. I think of how bleak my life would have been without the close friendships I have enjoyed over the years, how bleak it would be now. I would have my children, yes, and they are more precious to me than any other person could ever be, and yet there is a lack of reciprocity in the parent-child relationship. The parent always loves more, and the child always moves on, grows up, stakes out an independent place in the world of adults.
Friends stay with us. Not all of them, and not always. But the ones who do are pearls without price, and we ought never to take them for granted, whether they are with us only a short time, like the hibiscus, for longer, like the daisies, or for a lifetime, like the redwoods of the California coast. For all of the varieties of friends I have had in this very rich life of mine, I am grateful.