REFLECTIONS ON COMMUNITY
Hey you! I love what you’ve done with your hair!
It’s Monday, and you know what that means? It’s time for us to check in and see what’s going on in each other’s lives. Here’s what’s going on in the wonderful world of Baylis.
Well last week I broke the news that next year I’d be working on a personal project that would involve travel and sharing stories of my adventures. Thanks for all the lovely comments of encouragement; I am very much looking forward to making y’all proud during my escapades of 2011.
LIKE LEAVES FROM AN OLD MAPLE
And speaking of travel, I’m writing my “check in” on a bumpy train bound for Montreal. I spent a lovely weekend in Toronto, spending some quality time with a few of my besties; we chatted, we walked, we laughed, we shared wine-soaked meals. It was a weekend of nurturing friendships.
I’m both blessed and cursed to have many of my dearest friends scattered across the land. From my years as a student, my adventures as a backpacker and my summers as a treeplanter, I’ve been lucky to connect with all sorts of people. I am reminded of a Neil Young song where he expresses longing to reconnect with friends, despite geographical distances.
“From New York City, to my Canadian prairie home, my friends are scattered like leaves from an old maple.” - Neil Young (from the song “One of these Days”)
I wish I could convince everyone to relocate to a single city where we’d have the loveliest of communities. We’d have frequent and delightful wine-soaked meals, and untamed gardens bursting with vegetables. You could borrow my new shoes. I could eat your homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
How does everyone feel about Moose Jaw?
It was actually my scattered network of friends and family that catalyzed my career as a blogger. Back on a fateful date in February of 2006, before the warm glow (or all-consuming blaze) of Facebook had ever crossed my radar, I started a blog as a way to communicate with the lovely folks in my life. And by “communicate” I mean “broadcast my personal shit.” The blog served to develop my writing skills, while attempting to foster and maintain my online and real-world communities.
I think about “community” quite frequently – it’s an interesting concept, especially as a blogger. In my digital world of Facebook, Twitter, blogging and other social media forums, it’s easy to believe that I might have the most thriving of communities. But does a small army of Facebook friends really equate community? My answer is a resounding “no”… and “yes.”
I suppose my primary definition of community involves a geo-physical grouping of people that regularly engage each other’s lives. And the process of tending to this type of community demands a bit more involvement than simply dropping a quick “hello” on someone’s wall for their birthday. Yet the payoffs are much greater in non-virtual communities: the intimacy of hugs, real-time laughter, someone to go walking with, the delicious nuances of non-verbal communication, and, of course, friends to share wine-soaked meals.
For myself, this type of technology-free community will always hold the most value.
This being said, I am certainly not undervaluing the potential and importance of my online communities. Because perhaps this little blog might lead to an acquaintanceship, and that acquaintanceship might become an actual friendship, and that friendship might be an important part of building an actual community.
That’s the dream, anyway.
Thanks for reading. You can borrow a cup of sugar any time.