Postcards from a Blogger

rainforest-thumb.jpgIt’s always good to meet up with old friends (“old” meaning an indicator of time known). And it’s always interesting to spend time with people face-to-face that you spend time with exclusively from a distance. Like old pen pals of letter writing days long past, the new world of bloggers offers the opportunity to gain intellectually based friendships and then ultimately meet in person, only to find it out of sync to know someone so well but struggling to recognize them on the street! Contrast that to people you know in person but don’t really know what makes them tick: you could pick them out in a crowd but could you predict how they think, what makes them jazzed about life, or whether you could trust them with your secrets?

The whole subject of bloggers who meet online and ultimately connect in person is fascinating but hardly new, yet the mechanism seems different. With bloggers there is a body of work: their views about themselves and the world around them. Unless the writer is the cleverest of cons it would be hard to keep up appearances over time and not provide the reader with a sense of who the blogger truly is and whether he or she is…well, something other than an ax-murderer sociopath. Not that I’ve read the blogs of such evil doers before, but…

What blogging provides that simple emailing and occasional letter writing does not, is that sinfully voyeuristic look-in-the-picture-window view of our lives. Through our blog writings people can hear who we are and what makes us tick; what we like and where we’d like to go; and in ever-surprising spurts of revelations how we hurt and would like to love. I started blogging as an exercise to accelerate my writing beyond the bland–yet profitable–world of business writing. I’m always marveling at how much I’ve been willing to share of a nature that previously I might not have even told one person much less blindly posted for the world to see. Something about having an audience yet having no tangible, obvious audience frees us to blather about things we secretly want to share but typically don’t. Dangerous, but cathartic.

Anyway, and “old” friend popped down for a long Veteran’s Day weekend to escape the descending cold of her New Hampshire home and to continue a long-standing off-and-on-again friendship we’ve had since the early 90s when we met online over talks about journaling. Since we both enjoy nature, it seemed natural to take advantage of a couple of special places near my haunt, namely the Galveston ferry and the Moody Garden’s Rainforest Pyramid. I’ve written about the ferry before, but this trip turned out more unique than any before. Whatever the reasons, we witnessed more porpoise than I’ve ever seen before on the brief ride back and forth across Galveston bay. There were so many to look at we couldn’t see them all, both of us simultaneously saying “Look!” while pointing in opposite directions.

rf-bird.jpgThe magic continued in the Rainforest Pyramid, as I was able to find the two elusive sloths that inhabit the pyramid, apparently the golden chalice of the experience. A guide we chatted with had been looking for the sloths all morning, and after us telling her we’d seen them and where, she scooted off in an excited hurry to find these elusive, yet incredible stationary, hairy creatures. (They were entwined with each other high up in one of the many lush trees near the entrance to the pyramid, looking more like someone emptied the lint from a large vacuum cleaner rather than the elusive prized residents of this amazing pyramid…and no, I couldn’t get a digipix that would prove we saw them.)

lori-ibis.jpgOn this particular day we lucked out and managed to go through the pyramid between groups of noisy schoolchildren thus enjoying the place to ourselves. I don’t know if it was my friend’s nature karma again or the absence of humans while we walked around, but the birds were as tame as house pets, evidenced by this pix of her trying to digicapture a scarlet ibis as one was stealthily checking her out! In some cases we had to stop walking or we might have stepped on some of the denizens of this man-made representation of Mother Nature’s rainforest, complete with waterfalls and faux sounds of frogs and nightlife. Ultimately though, we left, and the residents continued doing what they do well in their envied halcyon lives within the glass walls of Eden in Galveston.

So does this mean that I’ll embark on a quest to meet bloggers I read and correspond with? That is an interesting thought, not only from the perspective of a continued interest in seeing how people you know well at a words-only level match up with their flesh & blood personas, but also from a desire to converse with like-minded souls. Typically we all faithfully read those blogs which seem parallel or at least complementary to our own thoughts and views, so why wouldn’t one want to meet and permanently befriend these people? Would make for an interesting book sometime: “Bloggers I’ve Met” as well as being a cherished blogroll on the side. Who knows…it could happen. And funny I should mention this now, since I’m planning a trip to the northeast in December and by chance will meet up with a couple more bloggers of online-only acquaintance in New York City over the holidays. I expect it will be most interesting to measure them against their online personas…but then, they’ll be doing the same with me so I’d better watch my ps and qs until then!