Friendship is a sheltering tree. ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge
When it’s friendship among women, that sheltering tree can fiercely block out the sun, wind and rain in hard times then send a cooling breeze in the softer. It’s been my pleasure during this first leg of travel, to find myself in a grove of sheltering trees as I renewed ties with women who are important to me.
My cousin’s gorgeous wedding last weekend was the first opportunity in a long while to see all my sisters and cousins and aunts. We are a family of women who — no matter the age — speak their minds. Fortunately all my brothers married women unafraid to join the chorus. There were great stories amid much laughter and photos that captured it all. By the time Sunday rolled around I felt caught up, sheltered and replenished by the love and affection from women who spanned three generations.
From there I went directly on to the 2012 Romance Writers of America conference, where over 1,000 watts of girl power is on display. I am not naive enough to think that this week is purely about friendship for every woman in attendance. After all, most of them are striving for the same prize: a contract to be published. But the magic that happens when creative women share a space means there is always a chance that some trees will take root
Unlike last year, I have a bit more work to attend to and a schedule to run so my chances to meet new people will be fewer. But I fully recognize the potent, alluring draw of women sheltering their friends, old and new. I know of friends who have roomed at every conference for three decades. I know others who met at the bar or in line for coffee and instantly recognized a matching soul.
I have my own, now dear, friends that I met purely by chance at this conference and I am as grateful for them as I am for the women in my family. And I know there is always room for more.
After all, as a person who works in a home office in a one-woman business it’s revitalizing, replenishing moments in the sheltering shade of women I call friends that renew the sense of my own creativity. And make me better for it.
Laura Reeth lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with the man of her dreams. With kids off at college, she no longer plays the role of active, day-to-day parent, and has moved into the complex understanding-parent-of-nearly-adult-children role. The main difference is she gets more sleep now.
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