Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Blog Kin

If you have ever witnessed young children at play in the park or on the playground you have doubtless noticed the easy manner of their interactions.  No one is excluded, all are welcome. New participants seamlessly blend into the current situation at hand, whether it be maneuvering down the slide, crossing the wobbly bridge or joining a dramatic play rendering of the family dynamic. They negotiate the rules and parts together and continue to shift the focus in an ongoing fashion.

This is especially true with young children.  As part of my Master's thesis I observed preschool children in a dual language (ASL and English) program and analyzed their interactions while at play. Sitting there with my notebook, jotting down all that was said and how they solved complicated disputes on their own, I wondered "Why can't adults get along so easily?"

This past weekend I found an answer.  Adults do.  They really do.

We do when we allow ourselves to let down our guard and come together in such a way that is open, friendly and formed through the seeds of mutual interest. Mutual interest at our gathering on Saturday was good 'ol blogging.  A dozen bloggers from as far away as London, England got together near Washington DC to meet (some for the first time) to share stories, carouse a bit and welcome spring by dancing around the May pole.

Our ring leader Reya, she of the dancing eyes and mischievous smile, led us in our dance with instructions to "grab a ribbon and fill it with energy".  We each chose a ribbon that 'spoke' to us (a blue one for me imprinted with my favorite flower -daisies) and held it for a moment while we thought good wishes and desires for the year to come.  What each individual held in their hearts is a mystery but I filled mine with a simple wish; 'happiness'.

Letting go of my inner desire or need to do this right, I began my clockwise rotation around the pole while those directly in front and behind me started their walk counter clockwise. Weaving around one another, in and out, brought out the giggles and soon we were all laughing, dancing and feeling the moment.

As our ribbons got shorter the quilt work of our intertwining tapestry forming on the May pole got more and more intricate.  It was a concrete testament to our strengthening rhythm, our finding a groove together, our connection to one another blooming like children on a playground.  By the time we tied our ribbons off our friendships were also sealed.

Afterwards dear, sexy Lettuce surprised me the gift of a dozen children's books she had hauled in her suitcase all the way from England.  Some of the titles are 'vedy, vedy' English, such as The Queen's Knickers by Nicholas Allan.  Most of them I was unfamiliar with but look as though they will become familiar favorites like The Big Alfie and Annie Rose Storybook by Shirley Hughes and The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl.  

I look forward to sharing these with my students for years to come. They are, of course, made all the more special by their journey and by the simple act of giving in friendship.  How wonderful.  

I will conclude this post by first giving thanks to our hosts Barbara and David and extending a thank you to my new blog kin.  It was a pleasure.

The picture below is my favorite one of the day.  It was not the image I had started out to capture because just as I pressed down on the button to take the picture the dog Jake ran after a ball. That night as I reviewed each shot I almost deleted this one but stopped myself because I began to admire the movement and symmetry of the give and take, the moving forward and going after something and how what is outside of the frame is just as important as what was captured.  Kinda like the day.


Arielle said...

Very very cool post. I'm so glad adults DO act as children sometimes! It's fun to let your guard down, but it seldom happens in the adult world I guess.

The gift of a dozen children's books is a wonderful gift!

Sounds like you had a blast. What a joy to read!

Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

I so regret not being there. Maybe I should host one out west next year.

lettuce said...

a perfect post gary

i mean, dear sexy gary

Dumdad said...

Isn't it great when bloggers meet and it all goes well? Sounds like you had a great time.

Steve said...

I love that last photo! What an (unintentionally) great shot! :)

Florecita said...

Dear Gary!!!!

What a wonderful post/day!!! And yeap, within every adult theres a child that wants to play, laugh and be happy...

Love the last picture!!!! Wonderful take of what an incredible day was!!!!

So you are sexy Gary eh??? LOL

Gary said...

Arielle - I find that adults mostly act like children when there is alcohol involved and they can truly let down their guard. LOL. Of course the more comfortable you are with someone (or a group of someone's) the sillier we become, don't we?

Gregg - Having you there would have been so perfect. I am so certain that we will get along splendidly! Out west huh? Now, that's a drive!

Lettuce - I read 'The Queen's Knickers' to my class today (along with your inscription) and they just loved the book. We got into a brief discussion about queens and how we don't have any queens in America, to which my student teacher and I gave a little giggle. How old am I anyway?

Dumdad - It was a pleasure to meet up with my 'blog kin'. I had already met Reya, Kim and Steve so it wasn't a total sea of new faces. Plus I found new interesting blogs to read. The connections through blogging have really surprised me.

Steve - Thanks. Maybe I should just aim my camera willy-nilly and see what it captures. There would have to be some good stuff once in a while. PS Sweet Pea misses you.

Florecita -Right you are my dear. To play, laugh and be happy. As for being sexy...I fear those days are far behind me. I have entered another stage of life now. One I think is more academic than physical. Oh well. I enjoyed my youth and charms when I had 'em. Thanks again for dropping by. I love it when you do that!

Aileen said...

Absolutely LOVE the last pic- it capture's Jake's "puppy" spirit!

And what the heck is this "sexy is behind me" stuff! No way!!!!!

J. David Zacko-Smith said...

Hey - isn't that Steve of Shadows and Light?

Gary said...

Aileen - Thank you on both counts.

J.DZ-S - You are correct sir! That's him.

Reya Mellicker said...

LOVE the pic of Jake running after the kong. There is so much life in that pic.

GREAT post, GREAT review. It's been so fun to read everyone's recap of Saturday. Honestly it was a perfect day, a perfect dance, and the food was good, too.

The Queen's Knickers is one of my favorite books! How cool that Letty brought you a copy! Very cool.

You know my thoughts for next year: larger venue, longer ribbons, more bloggers, louder, funkier music. What do you think?

Ladron you HAVE to come next year!!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

all I have to say is ditto to all the above comments - it is practically perfect in every way!

and yes that last pic! pure magic! don't you think jake needs a blog?

Barbara said...

I can tell you that Jake is gloating in his newfound popularity. He asked me just today if all those Blog people were coming back again this weekend to throw his Kong for him. I had to explain to him that this might occur only once a year and instead this weekend he gets a visit from another Jake, but that they might have to sniff noses through the gate because two male dogs don't always share space as gracefully as 11 Bloggers!

I quite agree the last picture says a lot about that wonderful day together.

It was good to finally meet another of Reya's Blog kin!

Mona said...

Hi Gary
Thank you for your visit.
I suffered angina last week & am supposed to be on bed rest ;D

I'll get a nice hollering if they discover me sitting here.

I see I've missed quite some posts here. Will come & read them all later & make up!


dulwichmum said...

Dear Gary,

Thank you for your kindness to me today, I really appreciated it.

Lovely blog.


Gary said...

Mum - Happy to have found your blog! Congrats on your success.

Mona - Get back to bed. The blogs will still be here when you are ready (but thanks for stopping by). I hope you are feeling like yourself again soon.

Barbara - Jake was great. I loved the way he would quietly stand behind me with his kong and wait for me to notice him so I could throw it off of the deck. Such a cutie. He is getting his 5 minutes. Good luck with the meeting of the Jakes.

Kimy - I love the Mary Poppins reference. What would a doggie blog consist of I wonder. Although I have seen some kitty blogs.

Reya - I agree. It is neat to read everyone's take on the day, to see their pictures and read their words. Next year bigger and louder. However, a more intimate gathering has it's merit.

WAT said...

I'm acting more like a child every day actually and not really caring what others say or think in the process. It releases a lot of tension and social "norms". One thing is to act childlike, and another is to be childish. I try to be CHILDLIKE!

I love Jake the Dog and his lower half in the pic. Cute.


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