"Sub-tropical" is the typical characterization of our climate here in St. Augustine; in the language of gardeners and those who read seed catalogues, we are dwellers of Zone 9a. This dogwood grows an hour or so almost due west of St. Augustine, but it must border on the edge of the next zone for it has a stately glory you will only occasionally see on its sister trees to the east. And like the wet, chilly weather of this lingering winter, it provides the contrast we need to tell the good from the bad. Blogs were like this to me, in the beginning: they were like dull, wintry weather from which bright sunlight and stippled shadow were missing.
Slowly I began to see the contrast, and then all at once, it seemed, there it was. How had I missed it? The name, for one thing. While the words "web log" evoked diaries and memoirs and other interesting and richly different stories, the inevitable "blog" took me to "blob" and "clod" and "blah". I didn't dive in on my own. Luckily for me, I was invited and as you know, became hopelessly addicted. Ms. Moon's compelling voice and Pablo's dazzling and poetic approach led me. Tyrone's whimsical, if intermittently posted, view was unique and his technical counsel valuable. And these were the people I knew. These were some of the writers I knew, for they are not babbling nonsense, these writers: most are FAR more compelling than many of the heads talking on your television in the evenings. Best of all, this was not the social network created in sound bites, the network you enjoy as you do an appetizer, the social equivalent of a flock of swallows, dipping and skimming at the top of a pond for an evening drink: the interaction of facebook or twitter. These have their places, and many of us are thankful for the connection facilitated by them, around our busy lives, our work, our play our kids our houses our commutes...but this is a different place altogether.
Do yourself a favor. Read your friend's blog. And then read some of the people he or she reads. Savor the contrast, drink in the fine writing; you will be surprised. You may even be astonished. You'll laugh out loud; you'll read things out loud to your partner or your children. You will marvel at the intellectual and personal courage; you will read things that make you take a sharp breath in, that make you glad to know such writers. Dive in.
Here is a taste. Ms. Moon has kindly shared her recipe for the truly divine Angel Biscuits. I could just give you the recipe here, but I believe it to be inextricably part of a larger menu she offered on the day she shared it, and it seems sinful, somehow, to pull them apart. Go and see Angel Biscuits, the Director's Cut and make some of those biscuits one day before you die. While they're in the oven, you can read a blog by someone you've never met and the winter gloom will be lost in the beautiful contrast.
Time cheerfully sacrificed by Rodney & Dylan
Gatorbone Dogwood photo by Lorie