Monday, November 13, 2006

Imagine, a Connected Life

One of the things I love about where we live is that I feel a part of an interconnected web. Part of it is the town, which is small enough to know many people. If we go to the library, the farmer's market, the pool, or the neighborhood store, we're very likely to run into someone we know. Part of it is the neighborhood we chose, one in which community is highly valued. We have an "intentional neighborhood" a block or so down the street, but almost everyone in the blocks around us is very community-oriented. Part of it is the circles we run in, which tend to overlap and intersect so we are always meeting people who know people who we know. Unschooling, sustainability, community, music, gardening, these themes that run through our lives bring us in contact with the most wonderful people.

This week, we took a toy bouncy horse that my kids had outgrown to a homeschooling family down the street that we met at the gym last year. They're now taking violin lessons from my daughter's old teacher. The violin teacher emailed me last week about whether or not a "chicken tractor" that she borrowed from us could be loaned to someone else. In turn, I need to call her to ask if we might be able to use her partner's saws to cut some wood for a bookcase. The circles go on and on with people helping, communicating, introducing people to other people until it feels like there is a giant lovely web that we have all somehow built.

I have lived places without this web, and it can feel lonely, isolated, disconnected. I think we are meant to feel this web connecting us - a feeling that if we somehow were to stumble or fall, that other people would hold their threads strong and we would be okay. Without that, it sometimes feels as if there is an abyss below our feet and that if somehow lose our tenuous grasp of things, we will disappear into its maw. I think about the stress that people feel in "modern life" and believe it is largely the stress of complete self-reliance, something we are probably not meant to ever be.

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