Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Facebook, winter and my brushcutter; some revelations

I have an urge to write something, to dig deep in my head and bring out a cauldron of words which will fill the page with insight and life. Facebook saps blogs; it brings quick snippets for comment, it brings reaction and information but it is not the forum for literary endeavour or wistful dissertations. Facebook is addictive as you scroll through the list, clicking now and again on interesting headlines whereas blogs, both the writing and reading, require dedication to time and concentration. Both are excellent and far outweigh newspapers and diaries. But there is more…..

Humans are group animals; thriving on interaction and connection. Does it matter if we interact more with people online than face to face? The people I interact with online are mostly people I know anyway, with maybe 10 or 15% being people I have never actually met. What I love is that I am in contact with old school friends and some of my distant, Adelaide friends as well as those who live in my area. I don’t read about their pets or the minutia of their lives, I read what they share in the way of thoughts, links to what interests them and, in one case, the photos of parts of South Australia that I miss. Mostly I read information from sources I subscribe to; faceless but meaningful.

Twice now someone has come up to me at my market stall and told me they are so-and-so, usually not a real name but rather an online, quirky name,  and that we are friends on facebook. Instantly we are connected then, in real life. Those people probably know who I am more deeply than many of my broader, non-facebook-using friends! It has become a habit not to bang on to friends and relations about food and the environment too much in real life but I love the liberty I have to do so on facebook!

It has been a very wet, grey winter, making the temperature seem colder than its degrees. I have done very little gardening for a couple of months but yesterday, after a few dry and windy days, I deemed it the right time to get out with my brushcutter and tidy things up. I felt fabulous, as I noisily dealt with grassy paths and broader swathes, decked out in all the safety gear. I love my brushcutter and am grateful to the local small-engines mechanic who recommended this one for me as I see many women either struggling with machines that are meant for hefty men or fiddling about with machines that are pathetic and flimsy. Then it was time to do a bit of pruning and trimming, breaking up any dead sticks to use as kindling and putting them in a wire basket by the door.

My affinity with everything outdoors far exceeds my desire to socialise with people and I realised that this winter, apart from the odd walk and dashing to and fro to my car, I have used facebook as a substitute for the outdoors! This is because so much of what I read and write about on facebook is related to the environment so, rather than being a substitute for real-life people, facebook this winter has been a substitute for outside. It makes a poor substitute for that as my revelry with my brushcutter yesterday was way beyond the norm!

The sun and breeze on my face, the magnificent Tasmanian sky, the sounds of the birds, the feel of the soil and taste and smell of the plants, the sky filled with stars, the rising moon; these are my special friends, always there. Facebook cannot bring the peace I feel when I am outside, even when I am connected to my noisy brushcutter!

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