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A recent comment conversation with fellow blogger, Nel of Directionally Impaired, sparked the idea for my 100th post. Yes, it is true. I am a centenarian!  I had no idea what to expect when I hit the “post” button for the first time on Blogger in February of 2010. I hadn’t read many blogs. Having been exposed to much dreadfully poor writing on the Internet, I feared the potential mediocrity of blogosphere.

I have discovered quite the opposite in my small world of bloggers. Rather than mediocrity I have met wonderful storytellers, poets, essayists, philosophers, and explorers. I have met people with different values who write about their views without braggadocio or self-righteousness. Perhaps most fascinating to me is the opportunity to communicate with people half way around the globe. One blogger friend alluded to this as an expansion of pen pal days in grade school. But it is so much more than pen pal frivolity. We see deeply into each other’s lives through posts and images. We explore and prod delicate issues that cut to the very quick of who we are. Amazingly, this has all happened without acrimony. I have been uniquely blessed. None of the nastiness that sometimes erupts in the comment section has hit me….yet. (I’ve probably jinxed myself now.)

The normal process of transitioning from acquaintance to friend requires time to build trust. Time speeds up, somehow, through the world of blogging.  Perhaps it is because we communicate without the clutter of face-to-face noise. Sitting across the table from someone, we see their exterior. Our eyes register obvious but meaningless details: hair, clothes, skin texture, beauty, ethnicity, in a word—difference.  No matter how hard we try to focus on the conversation, Those unavoidable observations set up a background buzz.

In print, the noise disappears. We focus on what the person says. Invariably I find people who share my worries, my joys, my annoyances. Essentially we are all the same collection of organs, bones, muscles, and skin. If you strip away the details of our individual cultures, history, education, and belief systems, we are all composed of the same human needs, desires, and mundane daily functions. Living is a complicated endeavor. When someone in India shares with me the joys and the complications of life, we are both humanized. Each of us grows in the magical exchange of human similarities and multi-faceted cultural differences.

Of course, I realize there are potential dangers to this feeling of camaraderie. Predators prowl the Internet like fleas looking for a host. Text can be a manipulative tool. Unable to look into a person’s soul through their eyes, we may miss important clues. A false sense of security can lead us into a hidden trap.

But I trust my instincts. The people I have connected with are kind, caring, and real. I have come to love and treasure them in a way normally reserved for close friendships. I care about their feelings and their daily challenges. I cherish the new worlds that I am exposed to through blogging. I have found a community of people whom I would love to meet over a cup of coffee, but whom I don’t need to meet because we have already connected spiritually.

Besides dear Nel, whose blog has inspired me to consult a map of the world, here are a handful of bloggers whom I could also call friends:

  • At Partial View, Priya lets me peer at a new world through her unique looking glass.  Her prose and storytelling captivate me and whisk me off to places I have never been and will probably never physically experience. My horizon expands through her images and words. Thank you, Priya, for sharing your world with me and for so kindly encouraging my efforts as well.
  • Charles at Mostly Bright Ideas is a master storyteller whose keen writing skills raise the bar for blogging excellence. He has gained so many followers during the past six months, that I am amazed and honored when he finds the time and energy to read and respond to my measly offerings. I’ll soon be the proud owner of a published anthology of his posts.
  • Souldipper lives north of the border. Our cultures are similar, yet subtly different. Souldipper’s perspectives often emanate from a higher plane than my own mundane earth-tied mindset. I enjoy stretching the limits of my imagination to learn from her.
  • Though I could probably be Merry’s grandmother, we share the same concerns about the welfare of the planet and our responsibility to treat animals with grace and respect. I love her curiosity and commitment to living lightly on the planet. Merry writes I wish I could…but I don’t want to from her current home in Spain.
  • I haven’t been following Sandra at Island Monkey long enough to summarize her blog style. But the fact that she is a German living in England fascinates me. My grandmother was a Brit who lived for several years in Germany.
  • I could travel across town to visit the Snoring Dog Studio yet I choose the Wordpress portal. SDS is another talented artist who illustrates each of her posts with her amazing watercolor paintings. I love her for her acerbic wit, her vociferous defense of her admirable values, and for her ability to laugh at her own human foibles.
  • Dia also lives across town from me. Her Curious World of the Odd and Unmentionable provides endless opportunities for personal growth and understanding. In another culture, I am convinced Dia would be a Shaman.
  • Then there’s Dinkerson over at Flight of Reason whose world view is the diametric opposite of mine, yet who articulates his ideas beautifully and with logic rather than rancor. Plus I enjoy his photography.

The list goes on. It is difficult and unfair to select only a few. As you can see, I am blessed by wonderful connections. I intended to keep writing and reading and expanding my knowledge of humanity and the world outside my door. Thank you, dear readers and followers, for patiently watching me explore and occasionally throwing out a rope when I seem to have reached the end of my own.

And on a final note, I will leave you with Val Erde’s image and poetry from July 2010. It has taken me this long to rise to her challenge of writing something inspired by her painting. I dedicate this post and the friendships it honors to Val’s Leap into the Vortex of Friends Around The World.

Val Erde's Picture Challenge