OK, I admit it. I blog. I am a blogger. I have two blogs. My son even blogs.
Sorry, folks, but I just don’t like that word. Blog. Say it over and over again. It’s not a pretty word. It’s harsh, abrupt. A four letter word.
It’s also so modern, and I guess that’s one of the last things you’d expect of me. The last thing I’d expect of myself. I thought I was old fashioned.
But there you have it. I blog. And you know what, I love it.
This started with the suggestion of a guest-turned-friend. Thought I could share a little bit about our off-grid lifestyle, talk about things like our water system, solar electricity, building projects, homesteading skills, mountain skills, real-life survival skills based on our experiences. But you know, I started this in winter. We’re not out there building much in the winter. We don’t go too far from home in the winter. It’s cold, it’s white, and we’re snowed in for about 5 months of the year.
So, in the winter, I do things like bake. Bread. Cookies. Cakes. Ideas. Winter is the time to think. To plan our projects for the upcoming season. To plan our adventures and travels about the mountain. And for anyone who’s been reading, we still manage to have a bit of fun and get a few things done in all that snow.
Thus, the blog is probably not at all what Ron was thinking it would be. But I’m enjoying it. And the main reason, besides that I love to write, is this: Community.
From the get go, I decided this would be a great opportunity to sit and chat with neighbors. Problem is, we don’t have any neighbors. For better or for worse, no one does or ever has lived here year round besides us. So, it started by me pretty much talking to myself. Pretending, in a way. Pretending I’m sitting here chatting at the kitchen table with a good cup of a coffee and a nice neighbor, you know? Boy, this sounds a bit crazy, doesn’t it?
But it slowly came to me: This is exactly what I have been doing. Chatting, sharing stories, reaching out to my neighbors. I don’t need my neighbors to be near me. Neighbors can be far away. Neighbors can be folks who come here for one week or one month or one season, but care about not just the land, but each other. Neighbors can be like my friend who lives Upstate New York, and takes the time to write me every single morning, even if just a short chat about the weather. Neighbors can be an ocean away or even on the other side of the world, but they’ll check in with you and make sure you are OK if they haven’t heard from you in a while, or if they read about something in the news and just want to make certain you’re doing alright.
And then what started to happen is I “met” more neighbors over the internet. Other bloggers. Other homesteaders. Other folks writing poetry. Or living in the mountains. Or remembering living in the mountains. Remembering the simple life. Common threads started weaving through the web, and I started to feel that sense of community that I truly longed for.
Bob reminds me that there is no need to be physically close to someone to call them a neighbor. Some of you I’ll be lucky enough to see for a while this summer. Others I may never meet. But as one new neighbor/friend told me, he’s been talking with many of the same clients for 20 years, they are friends, they truly care about each other, and no, they have never met. So, why should I think this could not be done over the internet instead of a phone?
It’s a small world. Never more so than now with the internet. Imagine this, a family living far off in the mountains, miles away from anyone, 6 ½ miles from a plowed road, no phone service, no power lines, no TV… I sit here in my log cabin writing on a lap top computer on the sofa by the wood stove, as the dog snores away close by my feet. Sending messages out with a satellite dish. And I’m able to reach out to you, wherever you are. Texas. Vermont. New Hampshire. West Virginia. Germany. Poland. Australia… who knows. And hope that maybe you can read some of this and close your eyes and see this beautiful mountain, feel the incredible peace, solitude, isolation, serenity…
In any case, I’ll try to share this mountain with you. For those new to blogging, and I don’t think any of us are “old timers” to this blog thing, this writing is for you, for sharing, and for a community. I hope you’ll enjoy reading a post or two, if nothing else, and leaving with a sweet smile on your face. Or perhaps you’ll join us, write us, be a part of the community, be a neighbor.
In the short while I’ve been blogging, I think the most remarkable thing I’ve felt about blogging is that sense of community. Not just for this blog, but for all. It’s about reaching out, communicating, sharing. If you can sometime, leave a comment. Send me some feedback. I’m writing for you. Let me know if you’re enjoying it, or have ideas, or concerns, or if you relate. I can’t tell you how much that has meant to me when folks do write, to chat, to check in, to share a story. Or write to one of the other folks leaving comments. Check out the other sites I recommend, and perhaps drop a quick note to one of them. It’s a web, in a very real, natural sense, weaving its way through some technology I will never understand.
So yes, as you can see, I’ve grown to love this thing called blogging. I will happily admit to being a blogger. However, I still don’t like that word.