“Any day spent with you is my favorite day.” —Winnie the Pooh
I’ve been thinking about Winnie the Pooh lately. Not the Disney adaptations, the A. A. Milne books. I’ve been thinking, of course, about Winnie but also about Piglet and Tigger and Eeyore and Rabbit and Kanga and Roo. Oh, and Owl! Can’t forget Owl. What a charming life they all maintain there in that Hundred Acre Wood with each other and Christopher Robin. Henry David Thoreau may have found peace in solitude out at Walden Pond, and solitude is often a lovely thing, but “each other” can be even lovelier.
When I find myself obsessing on the troubles of this world, I often think of Pooh and his safe hedge of quirky, disparate friends. It’s not good for “man” to be alone, the Good Book says. And I certainly am not apportioning equal weight to Three Dog Night who sang “One is the loneliest number,” but there’s some wisdom in that thought. Maybe, they were inspired by Piglet’s proclamation, “It’s so much friendlier with two.” Now, I believe in self-reliance as much as is prudent, but we need each other because the world can be a treacherous place. A cadre of friends is a good thing as we could certainly use a Piglet to bring tea and honey when we are not feeling ourselves—and an Eeyore to encourage us: “Could be worse. Not sure how, but it could.” And then someone like Tigger who puts us in our place—somewhere comfortably lower than himself: Once in a while, someone amazing comes along and here I am.”
Yes, friends are fantastic to have around. Rabbit puts it plainly, “It’s always useful to know where a friend-and-relation is whether you want him or whether you don’t.” Wise counsel, I suspect. Sounds a bit like international relations where one is admonished to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. But it is heartening to see that in the midst of tragedy in the world—hurricanes, war, politics, and strife—there are those who love and care about us. As Eeyore so often says, “I can’t complain. I have my friends.” May we always have each other.