Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Tie that Binds

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.

Thank God!

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.


Joyce said...

Well, shoot, GreenBean, you've got me crying.

Jennifer said...

What a meaningful meeting! And meaningful exchanges with people all over the world!

CindyW said...

What happened to the tall blond woman who is of Norwegian decent? Was that purely in my figment of imagination?

Ah, but the real you is much more awesome, sunny and through and through Californian.

It was a fantastic breakfast. I would yap on forever too if I had not had a preschool graduation (for a 3 year old) to go to. Rolling my eyes!

Beany said...

I b-school I learned that a "meeting of the minds" led to a contract. Which sounds boring and legalistic. I liked your (and Joyce's) version better.

I've become much more open minded because of the environmental blogs that I read. I've certainly become more accepting than I used to be. I think its a good thing.

Natalie said...

Oh Green Bean! That was lovely. I'm so glad the three of you got to meet in person. I hope you all continue to *conspire* and *inspire* each other. We're all better off for it!

eco 'burban mom said...

I think that is just so amazing that people from all over the country and the planet make friends, establish a relationship and then they meet! I am so happy that you all had such a wonderful time!

arduous said...

I can't wait to hang out with you guys again! We really have to plan a bigger blogger meet up next time.

Chile said...

Well said, Green Bean. I have to admit that I'm jealous that you three got to visit live and in person. As much as we can interact on-line, there is something magical about conversing in person.

I'd like to offer to whip up an all-local lunch if ya'll (and anyone else) want to come here to visit. It's only 110 today!

Donna said...

Great post. I'm a little jealous, but maybe some day I'll be in town and get to join you! This community of bloggers is different from anything I've ever been part of before and I'm loving it. We're all connected by something in common, and yet everyone has a different perspective. The most amazing thing is that my new blogging friends are actually real people!

Green Bean said...

Joyce: Tissue or hankie? Right back at you sister. You inspire me.

Jennifer: It is so cool. For those times when I think "I wish we could all live near each other", this is the next best thing.

Cindy: Sorry. Never been a hair over 5'5". Gesh! You hear Crunchy has blond hair and is 6 feet tall and you leave the rest of us brunettes in the dust. ;-) Hope the "graduation" was a blast.

Beany: It's amazing how blogging did what years of school did not. And, yes, this kind of meeting of the minds is much more fun.

Natalie: Thank you! I'm better off for it too. It's so nice to connect with folks in your area.

EBM: It is pretty amazing. A little surreal and very very cool.

Arduous: Absolutely! We need to start keeping in mind who is a Bay Area blogger. We have to keep up with Melinda who is planning a camp out at Laura's (not so urban hennery) place!

Chile: There is something so much more meaningful in talking face to face. And I'd love one of your local, vegan lunches! I do think, though, that I'd pass on the 110 heat.

Donna: Definitely email when you'll be in town! It would be so fun. And I know what you mean. The blog world seems so unreal sometimes but then you meet the person at the other end of the keyboard and realize how much you already know them.

Debbie said...

I am a relative newbie to both the blogging world and the green movement. I have been impressed with the way most of the green bloggers treat each other with respect, patience and kindness. Of course it is the way we should treat each other anyways but in order for this movement to move forward it must be done slowly, respectfully, intelligiently and patiently. I think a healthy exchange of opinions and ideas is necessary in order for growth to occur. I have learned so much from so many of you already - so I must go now to weed my veggies, stop in at my CSA and try to wait patiently for tomorrow when our local farmer's market opens for the summer - finally! Emjoy the day :)

Jennifer said...

I'm a new commenter. I've read your blog for awhile, and decided to 'come out' and actually comment, rather than lurk. :-)

I really agree with you about the community the blogosphere creates. It allows many people, with similar interests, from all sorts of different backgrounds to meet, connect, and learn from one another. I've always felt that I learn far more from the responses to my rants than the rants themselves. Others have different perspectives, life experiences, different ways of interpreting the world around us. And you are so right, if we were all the same, the world would be a pretty boring place. Not to mention, homogenization don't tend to last, long-term.

I hope to eventually meet some of the bloggers I've come to enjoy and learn so much from one day.

Melinda said...

Wow, we are in sync! Crazy!

Kate at Hills and Plains Seedsavers (Aust.) is having a gathering on Aug 24th. A few of us were discussing the idea of doing it on the same day in different regions.

She took that idea and ran with it. So far she has gathered several others for a joint meet-up. I'm behind in gathering people for my region, as I've been well - changing regions! But I'm hoping to arrange that.

Maybe you'd like to do it then, too?

And I am incredibly saddened that we didn't get a chance to meet when I was in the Bay Area. I'm hoping that there will be a time in the future that will bring us together.

Melinda said...

That link didn't work. It's here.

Chile said...

That's a neat idea, Melinda. I know of three other bloggers in my area. I wonder if they'd be open to a get-together. pondering, pondering...okay, off to read Kate's post!

Melinda said...

Chile, she had a more recent post about it but I can't seem to find it. I've asked her to email it to me.

Chile said...

Is this it, Melinda?

Green Bean said...

Debbie: Nicely put. That is the only way we can successfully grow this movement. Enjoy your CSA box and, better yet, the farmers' market!

Jennifer: Thank you for commenting! It is so nice to hear a new voice and we all have so much to share with each other. Even though we may not believe it (e.g., when we rant). I hope that you have the opportunity to meet up with some bloggers in your area. It was very grounding.

Melinda: It was almost spooky when I popped over to your blog this morning. We are planning a Bay Area blogger meet up so we'll have to float that date as a possibility. Regardless of when it happens, though, we are going to organize something up here. Just wish we'd done it last year. ;-) Thanks for the links, btw.

Chile: Absolutely you should email the other local bloggers. I can't tell you how wonderful it felt to connect and talk in person with people whom you've exchanged ideas for months. It really drove home, too, that we are not alone. There are lots of people like us out there - we just need to hook up.

Blogging Molly said...

i had a blog meet up a few months ago - a three day camping trip! it was such a wonderful "meeting of the minds". every time i think i should get rid of the computer, aka the black hole sucking up my time, it is the community that brings me back to this very spot, sitting in my thrifted desk chair, typing away on a keyboard.

Theresa said...

You bloggers get me through the day sometimes, really. I live in such an oil-focused part of the world that I can really feel quite alone at times. It's getting better, with the connections I'm starting build with the CSA folks and my tai chi people, but you guys get me through some rough patches of isolation. How neat for some of you to meet in person!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...