The soft breeze of an early fall evening blew over us. Sunlight slowly faded over the distant tree line. About 25 hummingbirds hovered around a nearby sugar-water feeder.
Eight of us — all women — sat there, watching the birds. We sipped wine as we listened to our host, Pam, tell us about the five “regulars.” The other 20 or so hummingbirds were filling up on their migratory path south. The birds circled and fed, darted away, came back, and took their turn for refreshment; friends and strangers sharing sustenance.
Of this group, seven of us have gathered for many years one Monday every month for wine, dinner, spades, and plenty of laughter and conversation. One woman was invited to fill in for the eighth “regular” — Kay — whose memorial service we had just gathered for two days prior.
As we enjoyed good wine and exchanged stories about Kay, we learned details of her life some of us never knew: some good stories, and some troubled ones. There was an imperative, then, for us to share ever more about ourselves, as though aware of the short time we have together. Stories of our travels, our children and grandchildren, friends of friends — memories blending with the breeze and time.
My thoughts turned to how valuable these women are to me. Their friendship means as much to me as the love I have for my children. In our time together, we were comforting each other at a moment of loss by sharing our stories. Kay was there in spirit, if not in person.
We finally meandered inside for a tasty dinner and new conversation: not earth-shaking decisions, but small talk of the most priceless kind.
Time passed in a peaceful, connected way. The card tables sat idle. We never did play. It just didn’t seem as important as our time, together, that evening.
We will play cards next month, and the month after that.