Today the sun fought with the rain, a war I watched from a treehouse in Princeton. Off and on the clouds breathed on the tall windows, surrounding us in a gray sweater, only to be pushed away a few minutes later by rays of sun that just wouldn't give in. I appreciate a good set of windows. My friend -- the one who lives in the treehouse, which is really a detached garage apartment that sparkles with colors and patterns and rainbows, with framed photos and homemade artwork and coziness, with skylights and floor-to-ceiling glass that overlooks a greenery I never fully appreciate until I see it in person -- shares her space with deer and rushing creeks and a wall of trees that manages to startle me each time I visit. I miss certain kinds of trees here in Brooklyn, and the ones in Princeton -- old, peeling, with branches that crack and fall to the tune of thunder -- are what one thinks of when one hears the word 'forest.'
It is nice, to say the least, when a group of women comes together with no purpose other than marking a passing of time. My friend always has a plan for her birthday. It's a day she celebrates by inviting a curated list of people, which sounds exclusive but is handled deftly in a way I admire, and creating an agenda of food and poetry and yoga and sangria. She hosts us in an old-fashioned way -- hands out goodie bags and treats on our way out the door, down the treehouse steps. We never get to the poetry reading part; we spend all our time catching up instead.
At a certain point in your life it's easy to say no, to say that's so far for a day's trip, to say I'm busy and I'm tired and I just saw you last month and I'll see you again next month and can't we just Facebook instead? It is easy, and sad, and each time I say yes, each time I make the effort to see my old friends face-to-face, in their own treehouses, I am greatly rewarded.