Monday, September 5

endings are beginnings

Dear Mindy,*

Five years ago, I moved to Providence and the very first person I met was Asya.

It was the first week of July and I was figuring things out on my own as the only person I knew in the city, Christine, had left the day I arrived to spend the entire month in Michigan as was her annual tradition. 

The dogs and I found our way to the farmer's market and, as you know, there is an entire section of the market devoted to makers and their wares. 

That morning, Asya had a booth where she was selling her ceramics.

Part of her display was an oversized postcard which had, in the very back of the photograph, a very large white urn. I asked her about the urn and she said she didn't really sell them. She had a few at her studio, though. We arranged that I could come visit her there.

So I did. And I bought two of the urns as I found them to be utterly gorgeous.

you can see the urns in the photo above
As it happened, Asya lived around the corner from the apartment I was renting (pictured above). Truly, around the corner --  not even four houses away. 

And, as I found out later, that was the one day Asya had a booth at the farmer's market. The one day - she never had a booth there again.

Despite the fact we lived around the corner, we never saw each other and I truly doubt we would have ever met and become friends if not for that chance encounter and the fact that I noticed that urn.

It has taken five years for me to really know Asya as she is Russian and exactly like one of those Russian dolls that you open to find yet another one in there.

I'm not kidding. 

Here's one example of like, a hundred where she totally surprises me and I'm like, how could I have not known this?

We had been good friends for over three years when I learned she had been an Art Director for Martha Stewart Living during those heady years in the 90s when that magazine set the bar so impossibly high. Like coolest job ever, right? Did she ever mention it? Nope.

How did I learn this about her?

We were sitting in my living room chatting when I shared one of my recent finds these profile videos Gael Towey was making: Portraits in Creativity

Asya:  (correcting my pronunciation) Gael TOE-hee

Me:  How do you know how to pronounce her name?

Asya: She was my boss.

Asya on her birthday a month ago
Flash forward to this morning. 

The dogs and I went to hang with Asya and her dog Berrie in her beautiful backyard where we have spent so many wonderful summer evenings. 

Today did not feel at all summery. The wind was strong and the temperature chilly. Kind of appropriate since big change is afoot.

Asya is leaving Providence. Her house has sold and in October she will be heading home to Cleveland to start the next phase of her journey in a beautiful house surrounded by mature perennial gardens that were planted by a master gardener.

I know all the reasons she is making this change and they are all excellent. Her life is about to expand in all sorts of wonderful and new ways. 

And, as her friend, I am so happy for her.

And, as her friend, I'm so sad. 

It feels like we had just gotten to truly know each other. Our schedules -- dog walking -- love of cooking-- Friday night dinners and movies-- things had gotten into such a good groove. And poof. 


September always feels like fresh beginnings to me. Right now, I am definitely feeling it is also bringing in all kinds of transitions. I don't know how it's all gonna shake out, but I'm trying to stay open and just see what the day brings.

more soonest, Elizabeth

*This month -- 30 days -- I am writing a letter to my dear friend Mindy because I happened on Mindy's post where she honored me to my core -- sharing that she reads my blog (my long, long neglected blog) and it inspired me to promise that for one full month -- 30 days of September-- I would write her a letter each, and every day. Let's see how I do . . . :) 


  1. I think you may have mentioned Asya before, this story sounds familiar. I can understand how sad it is to say goodbye to a friend. I am holding you in my heart during this transition, even if it is the best transition ever, it is still an adjustment. xoxo

  2. I loved finally getting to meet Asya this past spring, and I can see why you two were meant to find each other. You guys have such a similar, gorgeous vibration. Oh, the bitter sweetness of connection. Always such a weaving in and coming apart in unexpected ways. I'm feeling it this morning as my kids are off to start another year of school. Owen leaves the house now without looking back, but I still stand in the doorway waiting to see if he needs that one last wave goodbye. I'm opening up to receive what's new, but hell if I could white knuckle the moments to not zip by so fast, I might. Love you.

  3. It's such a heartbreaking feeling when a friend moves away. It's much easier to be the friend that moves (says the military brat). How lovely that you connected for the time you were able to share!


thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me-- I love that you stopped by and hope something I shared was what you needed today. xo, e