Last night (and, well, because it was so late, early today), I picked up a friend from the airport. I haven’t seen her in five years, and we’ve actually only met in person once before. We have been pen pals for nearly half of my life. We met through an online discussion group and have shared e-mails, postcards, and letters for years. After about 10 years I made the epic trek to visit her for her 30th birthday, and now she has made the journey to visit me for my 30th. It’s touching, but it reminds me of what a rara avis experience I’ve had with her. I don’t know anyone who has had a pen pal for so long. It seems like that is a dying form of friendship, even though communication has advanced and developed into mediums that make it even easier than it ever was.
She’s a remarkable person, and I’ll write more about her later, in another post in a few days. The important part for this story and it’s connection to the word is that when I saw her in the airport I was filled with a mixture of anxiety and complete excitement. Part of what makes our friendship so rare and extraordinary is that she is such a rare, incredible, and resilient person; a true rara avis.