On one of our first trips to the mountains in Oman, we stopped at a beautiful overlook to have some lunch. There I met an extremely hairy, extraordinarily friendly goat who I promptly named Carl.
Carl and I hit it off pretty well. While Ian prepared sandwiches, I sat with him under a makeshift gazebo of petrified reeds and shared my chips with him. He ate most of the bag (and some carrots I found in our cooler that we really didn’t need for dinner that night.), but I wasn’t bothered. I was too thrilled to have made a new friend.
We had to be more strict with Carl when the sandwiches came. He jumped on stone benches behind us and leaned over our shoulders for the perfect moment to take just one bite. We were friends now, after all, and friends share. I might’ve happily let Carl chew on the ends of my sandwich, but Ian wasn’t too pleased, and Carl was sure to go for his lunch next. So I refrained. (And accidentally dropped a few crumbs when Ian was distracted.)
It was hard to leave Carl behind after lunch was done. We had about an hour more of driving to do to get to the campsite, and there was no room in the Xterra for my new foodie friend. Plus, the several thousand fine for taking a goat of his stature would have put us in the red.
I watched old Carl from the rear view window as we drove away. Watched his hairy little self get smaller and smaller and the fine, yellow dust kicked up by our back wheels shrouded him in a dreamlike vale.
Some friends you make are only temporary. They’re not meant to be there for every major moment in your life. They are like train stops, providing relief and comfort and rest between journeys.
Those friendships are just as valuable, however, despite the transience. Nothing meaningless at all about them because they get you to pause, to reflect, to muse and wonder about all the unanswered, soundless questions in life. Wherever Carl is now, I hope he’s still eating chips and looking at gorgeous mountain views!