All around me, voices droned, people talking. The breeze flirted in from open windows. Waiters hurried from table to kitchen, hauling plates, coffee carafes but no syrup. I sat at a table with two other women whom I'd never met. Strangers in one way. I'd never seen their faces, heard their voices, or learned about their families. On the other hand, these women were old friends. We had shared a vision, a dream, the ups and downs of living a lighter life. We'd had many conversations - through blog posts, comments and emails. In this way, I knew these women better than friends in my hometown.
These were not women, though, that I would meet at my son's school, at the local coffee house, or at the park down the street. These were the kinds of friends that you can make only through cables and cords.
CindyW lives somewhat locally and is also a mom. Theoretically, I might meet her through a mutual friend or we might stumble across each other at the beach. It is possible that we would have crossed paths without the blog world. We would not, however, have traveled together - as we do now.
Arduous is another story. She is a former actress, lives in a glamorous bustling place far south of me. I have eight years and two children on her. We are from different backgrounds and different experiences leading very different lives. She is not someone I would have known absent the blogosphere.
It is an interesting place, this swirling world of blogs and web sites. Here, we can connect with people who truly care about the same things as we do. We make friends, establish relationships and support each other in difficult times. It is not all puppies and borage, though.
Later that day, I logged into the computer and cruised around my favorite blogs. I popped by Chile's place. She was feeling hot and cynical. Her post, which she called a rant, attempted to explain why she tends toward pessimism while others (Arduous and I) write only of hope. Chile often focuses on Peak Oil, the end of the world as we know it - things that are both dark and scary. Chile's voice is much different than mine.
I am not sure how valuable the blogosphere would be if we all echoed one another's sentiments. Certainly, it feels good to have affirmation, to connect with others who think the same and learn, together, how to live a greener life. It is impossible, however, to truly grow without dissonance. Our burgeoning green movement would crumble and fail if we all thought the same, looked the same, believed the same, did not challenge one another's theories and assumptions.
Since I started engaging with others on the blogosphere, I have encountered people from every region of the country and, even, the world. I've met evangelicals, Buddhists and everything in between. The friendships I've made here have crossed every generational, gender and ethnic line there is. Because of it, I am a more open person, more thoughtful, more sure in my beliefs and, also, in the possibility that I am wrong. I have grown here when I thought I was done growing. I have changed what I thought I could not change. I have learned to laugh at myself and to take nothing personally.
Arduous pointed out, over brunch, that as different as we all are and as much as we can learn from each other, we are all working toward the same goal. She is right. We are all connected by one thing - our desire to help this planet. My friend, Joyce - whom I'll likely never meet, who has smashed stereotypes and spoken up for those who cannot - calls this the meeting of the minds. To me, it is the tie that binds . . . and thrives.