I came back to NYC today with a tiny hole in my heart. It was a great three days out of time in Cape Cod, especially since so far this year I know more about what’s not working–what has ended, what needs to end–than what I can safely count on, even in myself. I needed to step out of the flow of life and focus on the elements- sand, sun, salt–and that is what we did. We bopped through marshes and ogled the biggest greenest waves. We woke early each day to silently cheer on the sun as she made her grand return and in the early evening toasted her departure with tiny glasses of wine. We bought spices and cranberry breads and bright fabrics, and worked our way through thrift stores staffed by beautiful old women with steel bobs and spidery hands and eyes that still shone. We bought their treasures not just because of their glow but because of the stories they told: 1960s leather jackets, 1940s china, 1920s earrings, 1970s feminist novels. We stopped at the dump and got more books, and howled by the sea about our loved ones–living and dead–whom we could no longer reach. We ate fresh seafood and spent more time weeping; all those tears surprised us both. But we laughed a lot too, and finished each other’s unspoken sentences while sharing The Country of the Pointed Firs, about 19th century Maine octogenarians who kept things small and bright. This is what old friendship is about, and it is also what no longer being young brings. We treasure our elders in a way we never could have imagined, and hope to someday join their ranks; I can only pray that everyone I love lives long enough to meet each other’s eyes with such gratitude and wide-open joy. Though I know it will not happen (it already has not happened) I feel living in this hope is what will steer me in the right direction. My heart has a hole, but holes can be fixed.