Thursday, July 11, 2013
It takes a village
I used to do a regular Monday Morning Chat Over Coffee blog. The purpose was to replace having coffee physically with friends. It seemed many of my friends, especially in the summer, get too busy for coffee and all the coffee places get too busy with tourists. And then I got too busy for the blogs.
But coffee chats are an important part of community. It is where we catch up with the back story of our lives and it is where we gossip. Social anthropologists are now telling us that gossip serves an important bonding ritual and is beneficial to the community if not viscous or mean spirited. And who knows what is a glue in the fabric of a society
Chats over coffee are also where we re-establish our bonds by what we tell of ourselves and our friends, and what secrets we keep or do not keep. In rural communities chats over coffee are often replaced by what I have come to call windshield time when you get together to do the weekly shopping in the next town over or run to Santa Fe for that special day away. Often a whole month of chit chat and gossip gets condensed into two hour drive or a day with the cameras or the shopping list.
I seem to have strayed off subject but not really. Up here in the highlands we think of ourselves as independent loners. We do from time to time call on friends to swap out some chore assistance or trade veggies from the garden but basically we feel very self-sufficient. But just recently I came across a circumstance where it seemed a large extended family or collective of friends or even a church fellowship would be of benefit. A collective you could call upon for help especially if your attendance had been religious. Frankly, I do not know anyone I want to see every Sunday, but then I am an air force brat.
See there it is. That tendency to label ourselves as belonging to a group or subgroup regardless of how loose or in the past that affiliation is now. And maybe it is because some genetic link within us knows we need help raising kids or stringing fence or bringing in the harvest or rounding up the cows or digging the grave. Or just someone to lend a shoulder so we can cry.
And yet our society today seems all about division. Rigid establishing of barriers we are not suppose to cross. Red and blue states, straight and gay, black and white, liberal and conservative. Those labels and many others like them do not tend to unify but divide because behind them is the unspoken I am right and you are wrong.
Sad. Very sad.