Bouquets, pandemonium, romp and mischief

No, the title of today’s post is not a summary of the past few days, although it’s not far off!

Those are the words for groupings of, respectively: pheasants (though only at take-off), parrots, otters and mice. I’m not sure if other languages have such a richness of vocabulary to describe pluralities of animals. It’s one of the things I love best about English, though. It seems excessive to have such colorful and poetic ways to describe a grouping of animals. Still, I can’t help but think my life would be a little bit sadder if I didn’t know that gnus traveled in “implausibilities”.

So why am I thinking of animal groups at all? I am recovering from a weekend so filled with love and friendship that I feel hard-pressed to describe it adequately. As I was biking home today, I was reflecting on the fact that my weekend was book-ended by old friends and newer ones. I spent time with people who have known me for half my life, and others who have known me for a year, or just a month. I witnessed and shared in  interactions between people who are secure in their affections and share deep bonds.  Then I joined in the struggle of a friend who is far from those he loves, and who is hungry for the connection that comes from being seen and known.

These experiences left me feeling that “friendship” may be too limited a word for the richness and variety of our human relationships, no matter if the bonds are battle-tested or just newly forged. Maybe instead I’ll steal a few outrageous words from the animal kingdom to modify the insufficient “friendship”. Who couldn’t use a congregation or a charm or even a flamboyance of friendship from time to time?

As for this past weekend and all that it brought me – laughter and memories, connection and re-connection, tears of joy and expressions of frustration – well, that’s an easy one. It was an exaltation of friendship.

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