I visited an old love this weekend, almost a year after we parted. I found her more beautiful than ever, and we spent a wonderful few days together before saying goodbye again. Fortunately, my wife not only tolerates this particular crush, but even shares the infatuation. (Yes, I know — I have the coolest wife in the world). And so Mardell and I walked the streets of the Village and the Bronx and places in between, and we reconnected with our shared love, the city we had fallen for during the years we shared with her.
The occcasion was my law school class reunion. I saw old friends from law school; I also met with friends from the bloggernacle. It was relaxing and fun. The best part of it was meeting people, touching base with my community. And so in this community forum, let me offer a few snapshots from the trip — some visual, and others written:
-Thurday evening; dinner at an Italian place in the Village. Participants (other than Mardell and I, who are participants throughout): Logan and Amy — bloggernacle regulars, old friends from real life. Topics of conversation include blogging, Mormonism, Buddhism, law school, meditation, haircuts, family life, music. Rampant theological speculation is de rigueur for the evening. The food is solid, the company excellent.
-Later Thursday. Washington Square Park, again with Logan and Amy. The pavement near the arch is often used for sidewalk art — impromptu chalk drawings that last a few hours. The sidewalk that evening is emblazoned with a rainbow-hued diagram of The Plan of Salvation. We wonder among ourselves whether the artist is a local church member, or perhaps a missionary. We smile and take a few photos. Later that evening, Mardell and I will return to the park and happen to see a passer-by blotting out part of the mural with a cup of soda.
-Sunday morning, attending church at the First ward and at the Morningside Heights ward. I joke with D. Fletcher about the T&S thread on prelude music. He does his best to provide great evidence for both sides of the argument, staying within the hymns for prelude, but venturing outside (shhh!) during postlude, and both sound fabulous. And God gives me a small, unexpected gift — a sacrament program that includes Now Let Us Rejoice. D.’s version of Number Three long ago spoiled me forever; I cannot hear another organist play it anymore without feeling let down. And so I listen and smile, and thank God for the small gift; I’ll be smiling again during postlude.
-Sunday evening, bloggersnacker at D.’s. Logan and Amy are there; my co-blogger Melissa shows up, and it is wonderful. We’re eating cheese (of course) and tasty cookies from Brooklyn; Melissa has brought one of her famous deserts, and yes, they really do match their reputation. We talk like old friends, like family — about feminism and blogging; community and friendship; movies and books and then more about feminism. We talk about testimonies and blessings and music, about wards and homosexuality and blogging, and about feminism again. We even spend a few minutes watching the end of Big Love. I look around me, and I see my friends, my family, my people. And I smile.
They’re not earth-shattering moments. But looking at Mormon sidewalk art with Logan and Amy, having a piece of Melissa’s wonderful apple-walnut cake, I felt connected to friends old and new, connected to a real community. And I was grateful for the time I’ve spent blogging, the time I’ve spent getting to know my friends. Time among friends is time well spent, and sometimes the bloggernacle gives us — gives me — time among friends.
Sometimes, yes, the bloggernacle can be a place of stress and tension and anger. Sometimes it brings out petty squabbles, and grudges, and tit-for-tat, until I swear to myself that I’m through with the whole endeavor. But then there are times that the bloggernacle community is wonderful, sublime, transcendent — a safe place, a haven, a neighborhood, a home. It’s a place to discover or rediscover friends and friendships. And it is at those times that the bloggernacle can become the thread that makes me smile, the song that makes me feel a little bit less like I’m the only cab on the road.