I was just oohing and aahing this morning over some stunning photographs of dragonflies taken by a friend I've known since junior high. Who would have known back then that she'd develop such a great eye for color and composition? Pretty impressive for an amateur. I feel honored to have such a talented friend.
But she's not the only one. I have a friend who can create a learning colloquium and design first-year curriculum but also bakes terrific cookies to keep our department sweet. Other friends can bring a farmers' market to Front Street, help restore a historic theater, or produce Shakespeare by the River. Some publish poetry or write plays and others create art or jewelry or beautiful baskets.
One friend is an expert at knowing the right thing to say in every situation and another is the king of keeping calm and carrying on, but both are talented kayakers. Another friend can cook like the Barefoot Contessa and is the best person to sit next to at a cultural event because she knows everything about art and music and literature.
One friend writes PR pieces and blogs about baseball, while another writes amazing essays and knows how to make students believe they're writers. One knows about botany and birds and weaving and knitting and has a tremendous talent for sharing her knowledge with others. One builds guitars and one restores old cars and one can sing like and angel and help others develop their musical talents.
I'm blessed to have a very old friend who has a talent for friendship, who can keep track of many people and bring them together for joyous events, who has a gift for bridging gaps between disparate groups. I don't know where you go to develop that talent, but I know our world could use lots more of it.
I've missed so many! A friend who can paint, one who can run like the wind, another who catches and fries enough fish to feed the entire faculty, and more I can't think of right now. If you gathered together all my friends and set them to work, they could change the world.
But wait--they're already changing the world. Some feed our bellies with food and others feed our souls with beauty but they're all, in their own way, making the world a better place.
That's talent. I'm proud to know them all.