September 1, 2012 by Darlene McC
August has been a whirlwind; and if that doesn’t give you enough W alliteration for one post I don’t know what will! All joking ‘wha-‘s aside, it’s been a busy few weeks and I’m thankful that fall is creeping in. Two incredible women that I love dearly were wed in as many weeks – the lovely and brilliant Rosemary and my new sister-in-law, the amazing, beautiful, bright star of a woman, Mary T (seen below respectively). I was honored and touched to be a part of both of their special days. I’m a sucker for weddings and openly willing to admit that I cried at both.
You’ll be hearing & seeing a bit more of Rosemary later this week; and while I would never want to invade MT’s privacy by rambling about her nuptials on the internet I do want to share a bit about my experience last weekend and my reflections on it. Mary is one of the most genuinely unique women I know. Just as comfortable in the woods as out, she’s got an admirable sense of herself; in the times I’ve spent with her when she doesn’t know her path she seems, at the very least, to know which paths aren’t truly hers; which is often just as valuable. She has a huge heart and I think I speak for my entire family when I say I’m so genuinely happy to have her in my life…and that she’s a wonderful match for my brother-in-law and I wish them every happiness this world can grant them. (okay, probably embarrassed her enough for one post!)
What I’ve truly been reflecting on was the solid core of women Mary has around her that I had the pleasure of getting to know last weekend, and around that core a network of friends. We camped at Little River State Park in Waterbury, Vermont. For the most part they were a great facility, though they seemed a bit unnerved by the presence of 30-some-odd youngsters in their 20’s and gave us a little flack. For 2 days we ate communally, swam, hiked, played music, laughed, and stitched together the pockets of friends and family that each of these people brought to their lives together. It was great to sit back and watch the campsites start to melt together on that first night, and strangely fun to try and sort out everyone’s belongings from one another after the last breakfast. It felt like 4 day adult summer camp, and I didn’t want it to end.
Juxtaposed against the anonymity of NYC it was a serious culture shock on Monday morning. The “you do you” easy vibe of Vermont didn’t hang long against the sweaty stranger nearly sitting on my lap on the subway or the grumpy co-worker talking smack about their clients. I’ve been reflecting this week on what was so very different when I got back; and part of me has settled on the idea of “looking without seeing”. In major cities we have to defend our personal space to survive so we project a bubble to keep others out. This bubble may keep our senses from being overloaded, but it also keeps us from human connection. Everyone I know has a story about someone ignoring the needs of another person on the subway. I believe it’s not because they’re actively malicious, but because they’re not really seeing that other person. The other person becomes subway scenery, and inanimate objects don’t have needs.
This Labor Day Weekend, or in the week following, I challenge you to reach across the divide. Connect with someone in a real way. Stitch your different social groups together and bring your network that much tighter. I am grateful for this new person in my family, and richer for the new friends in my life. I hope you can be too.