“when marilla and anne went home diana went with them as far as the log bridge. the two little girls walked with their arms about each other. at the brook they parted with many promises to spend the next afternoon together. “well, did you find diana a kindred spirit?” asked marilla as they went up through the garden of green gables. “oh yes,” sighed anne, blissfully unconscious of any sarcasm on marilla’s part. “oh marilla, i’m the happiest girl on prince edward island this very moment…” (Anne of Green Gables; L.M. Montgomery)
i seem to find kindred spirits on paper. whether fictional or real i dive into their life, their story, their struggle. i am consumed by words. my earliest kindred spirit would have to be bridge to terabithia. we were reading it popcorn style in my 5th grade class. i read ahead the night before until i stumbled, and then crashed into the words “your girlfriend’s dead.” i stopped, shaken. i cried. i cried hard. hard as if i had been jess. i cried in a plane over peru as i read walk 2 moons. i sobbed on my front porch in college during the poisonwood bible. but i haven’t just been in the depths of despair, i’ve laughed out loud, underlined sections or counted down the days until the next book is released in a series and then when it is, i swallow it whole. i swallow it so quickly i instantly regret that it is over.
this week i finished my 25 cent yard sale copy of malcom x. i finished malcom x but really i just started – muhammad ali, betty shabbaz and growing up x are all on their way. like so many others, malcolm, reached out from the yellowing pages and shook me. he shook me in a way that made me long to meet him, along with all the other kindred spirits i’ve seemed to have accumulated.
last night at our young women activity one of our beehives needed a ride home. on that ride, i realized she understood these paper kindred spirits that shake us. we talked of the giver trilogy, madeline l’engle, stargirl, flipped – she shared some of her loves and i shared mine. somehow, in that short ride, the gap over our 19 year age difference was filled.