I took a morning hike through the hollow with a friend who knows every nook and cranny of this countryside. She is the Ferrari of hiking, notching top speeds as I huff and puff behind her, trying to keep up. It is always invigorating.
But what I love most about this friend is her utter disregard for things temporal: she loves you just the way you are, and despite what mess you get yourself into or how much complaining you do, despite the way you walk or don't walk, she carries on at your side.
If you step in a cow pie with this friend, you don't even stop and say anything. She doesn't notice - so you just trek on. It sprays up your calf and runs down your leg that is bleeding from tramping through a thorny forest, and you just travel on. When you get home you expect there to be cowpats all over your body, but though you wash your shoes in the garden hose and take a shower, you are always surprised to see that most of it fell away while you were hiking ... at her side.
Real friendship will do that; friendship makes the dung just melt away.