A Handshake and Social Networking

I have not been blogging lately and contemplate abandoning a “hobby” that is enjoyable but never seems to be finished. The time spent in front of a monitor has given way to working outdoors, going for walks, reading books, and birding. There seems to be some sort of internal shift going on and I am trying to pay attention.

Blogging has taken the back seat to pursuing some real “social networking.” The kind of networking that is in the living, breathing flesh, the kind when we see the smile in someone’s eyes when meeting them for the first time, when the status of “stranger” changes by a mere handshake.

Yesterday, I volunteered at the Ringwood Farmers’ Market and shook hands with many, and learned their names. Not their avatars, not their screen names, but the flesh and blood of the folks who live in or near my town. Bob, Melissa, Ray, Ann, Dave, Jim, Basha, Jennifer, Ross, Amy, Steve. I greeted Moms and Dads who strolled into the parking lot with their children and sampled the mini pies while watching the kids dance to the live music. I met people who were lingering over the butternut squash vegan chili samples to talk about what they had planted in their gardens this spring. I smiled while a pair of rescued Greyhounds romped with a Golden Retriever. Amy, a mixed breed lab, looked on. No one was in a hurry.

All this, while breathing in the licorice sent of basil, the tang of vinegar from homemade pickles, the sweetness of apples on the breeze.

Bill McKibben writes about the need for this kind of community in his article “Why Future Prosperity Depends on More Socializing:

“…You know the drill in Stop ‘n Shop: you come in the automatic door, fall into a light fluorescent trance, visit the stations of the cross around the perimeter of the store, exit after a discussion of credit or debit, paper or plastic. But that’s not what happens at farmers’ markets. On average, the sociologists found, people were having ten times as many conversations per visit. They were starting to rebuild the withered network that we call a community. So it shouldn’t surprise us that farmers’ markets are the fastest-growing part of our food economy; they are simply the way that humans have always shopped, acquiring gossip and good cheer along with calories.”

And while this does not fit in a blog post about farmer’s markets, I am compelled to throw my parking lot bird tally here too because you know, it is part of my community too.

Great-crested Flycatcher
Indigo Bunting (calling loudly from the surrounding oaks)
House Wren
Red-tailed hawks (a pair, harassed by a band of crows)
Crow
Fish Crow
Song Sparrow
Goldfinch
Turkey Vulture
Carolina Wren
Titmouse
Chickadee

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2 Responses to A Handshake and Social Networking

  1. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I'd rather be out interacting with people and horses, dogs etc., than being stuck in front of a computer. I've given some thought to giving up the blogging because it takes up so much time. I sometimes feel it's a lot of pressure at times to think of interesting or informative subjects.

    I remember going to the farmer's market as a child. It was open Fri. through Sun. and we always got the best cheesecake at one booth there. Figures that's what would stick in my mind.

  2. Kim says:

    It was good to see you there, and I agree with you wholeheartedly. I frequently waffle over giving up my blogs, but each of them serve a specific purpose, and despite recent neglect, I've decided to keep on – for now. That being said, I find that I have to limit myself on the computer, lest I'm indoors all day while the sun shines outside without me. What if you carried a notebook with you, and made notes or wrote blog posts while you were out and about? Then at night, when you're inside anyway, you can just transcribe and post? We'd miss you if you went away…

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