Today will see the start of the Silent Eye’s annual workshop in Derbyshire and so I will probably not be online for a few days. The workshop and the friends I will meet there will occupy me fully. Most of the time, I could say the same about the blog.
When I first began blogging, like most people I suspect, the stats were fascinating but they soon paled beside the human adventure of meeting people… touching and being touched by minds and hearts from across the globe. My inboxes are now busy every day, not just with official notifications, but with emails and messages from friends, readers and students. Some I have been lucky enough to meet in person, others are friends yet to be met. Most I will probably never be blessed to meet in person, yet their lives and mine have brushed past each other on these pages, leaving the traces of that passage as a fertile trail of ideas.
Communication is such a force in our lives and the internet has opened the doors to cross so many barriers of geography and culture. Countries I will probably never be able to visit are open to my eyes, if only through words and pictures, but reading about them in the words of those who live there, and who know the land, brings them to life. Viewpoints from all the nooks and crannies of human society are here to encounter and explore, faith from the deepest reaches of the heart, and I have been delighted with the acceptance I have seen for the beliefs and opinions of others, even where there is disagreement.
It is true that there are a few who are blinded and bounded by their own beliefs, but the vast majority of individuals are open to the exploration of other opinions, seeing something to celebrate in that diversity rather than something that needs to be shouted down or quashed. Causes are espoused, support given to projects and to individuals, hands are extended in friendship and compassion, laughter is shared… because it is a poor thing to keep to yourself… and in many ways the blogging community simply eradicates the imposed and illusive barriers we seem so readily to accept.
You have shared our adventures in the rural landscape of England, been there when I have been ill or hurt, rejoiced at my son’s triumphs… shared laughter and tears in poetry, photographs and prose… even adopted the small dog as she placed her paws on the literary ladder…. and some of you have travelled thousands of miles to support the Silent Eye at our workshops.
What began as a tentative dipping of a toe into the faceless sea of the blogosphere has become a very personal voyage of discovery, where there are real faces behind the gravatars, minds to be met, opinions to be explored and laughter to be shared.
I just want to take a moment to say thank you for that.