I am making the effort to visit friends wherever they live - in other cities, states or countries. It's a fact that I've lost a lot of people in my life, to death, to skirmishes, to silence, to disinterest. There are folks that I just don't want to give up and so I've been traveling. I flew to France for Regis and Eleanor. I drove to Iowa for Craig and to Austin for Caanan. I checked into the Abbey of Gethsemane to commune with Thomas Merton. I explored moss and rock for a week with Mary Paffard at Grey Bear Lodge in Tennessee. I hiked to Kinlock Rock Shelter in the pouring spring rain with Janice and Eve. I stepped into the sea off the coast of Scotland. And last weekend I went to Franklin, NC to sit in the river with Kathleen Marshall and her husband Lamar, to listen to her laugh and to soak in her sweetness, and later to follow Lamar into their garden landscape of green beans and tomatoes and cukes, lifted from red dirt with hands that helped to save the Sipsey Wilderness. Later still I watched in their kitchen as he sorted and separated the grains from kefir, and moved a portion to a jar and filled it with milk and screwed on the lid and handed it to me so that I could make my own. I took it, this living thing, this living being that offers vitality, that births kefir. There I was in the shadow of those old mountains, with Robert, Lamar and Kathleen, not wondering anything in the least, rather feeling the breadth of life, the resonant heart of being together.