Tag Archives: Connection

Gardening Revisited…

seedlings appearing amongst more established plants

“Did I plant that?”

Back in the first month of existence for Come In From The Cold, Linda juxtaposed gardening with community building, specifically in her village of Ratho and her very own garden.  Journey back with us by reading 7 Thoughts on Gardening and LifeThe pictures beam vibrantly and the parallels weave in and out of the post beautifully.  This process of looking back is proving to be quite beneficial to us as we regain traction on where we were upon the inception of this space and where we are headed…we hope you don’t mind it too much 🙂

Remember to take care of each other and tend to your gardens!

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Safety in Numbers

It isn’t always easy to think of something to write for a weekly blog. Last night as I walked to the pub to meet a friend, I mulled over ideas and rejected them as insufficiently developed. Half a bottle of red later and I felt more… creative?… as I made the journey home. At the point I switched on the torch on my phone I realised how safe I feel living in this village, and I knew what I wanted to write.

path through grass, sign saying 'ratho community woodland'

a lonely path?

Many years ago I lived and worked in a tiny little village in the Yorkshire Dales. At night, one of my colleagues regularly used to throw on a head torch and stomp around the countryside surrounding Malham, enjoying the feeling of peace she experienced. I marvelled at this and realised how much of a people-person I really am. I have lived and travelled in many cities and rarely felt truly unsafe, night or day, yet I would be terrified to be alone in the countryside at night. I am completely reassured by a faith that there is always someone who could (and surely would) come to my aid. Of course there is always the slim chance that someone may wish to harm me, but with enough folk around me I feel confident that someone would help. And I know that, sadly, this isn’t always how it pans out and that some awful things do occur. But I am not talking about what I know to be true here; I am talking about what feels true to me.

So as my phone lit my way up the path from the pub, I was struck by a sense of protection. The path runs through a little community woodland and takes about sixty seconds to walk, but it doesn’t sit right by any houses (and it is the proximity of houses that usually offers me reassurance at night). But last night it was the sense of the whole village surrounding the path that comforted me. Not an anonymous house immediately within reach, but many buildings housing people I actually know and trust all around me. I felt I could call out and a familiar face would speedily arrive if I needed them.

photo of path past rickety fences and red bike shelter

Houses over the fence – this bit of the walk is safer, Mum!

My mum reads this blog (hello, Mum!) and I would like to reassure her that I did realise that choosing the woodland path is not a sensible thing to do on my own and I promise I will take the longer route next time. Promise. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is the richness of that feeling I had as I strode up a torchlit path at eleven pm. I felt known, noticed, valued, and protected.

My paid work often involves working with people who have a disability and their families or support staff. The concept of the “Vulnerable Person” has led to a fearfulness of ‘bad people’ and a wish to protect disabled people from perceived risk. To be honest, I think the most meaningful and significant life experiences nestle right up beside risk. And I believe that getting to know a hundred people is safer than only knowing two, even if one of those hundred turns out to be a bad egg. Because if one person let’s us down, we still have ninety-nine people looking out for us. Connection not only fuels happiness and wellbeing, it places us more visibly within a network of care and support. And we all need that from time to time.

path leading past fence and towards brick houses

arriving home

It isn’t always easy to think of something to write for a weekly blog, but it is never impossible. We are living ‘community’ every day; this stuff is never-ending…

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Gifts of the Frisbee

Today our good friend Peter Leidy contributes to Come In From The Cold as a guest blogger!!!  Enjoy!!!

My wife, Betsy, and I are on the plane home after a lovely time in Puerto Vallarta.  We like to stay in the old part of the city, miles away from the all-inclusive resorts, strolling the town and swimming in Banderas Bay.  We love the colorful mix of locals and tourists (mostly Mexicans from Guadalajara and Canadian/US visitors.)  Ahh, the days on Los Muertos beach.

Peter and Betsy

Peter and Betsy

I had brought my Frisbee with the hope of finding willing players, but so far, no luck.  Continue reading

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“It Just Has To Stick…”

Our good friend, Sheldon Schwitek, posted this TED talk to Linda and I on Facebook a couple of weeks ago…specifically because he thought it resonates with our blog.  Little did he know I would repost it…muahahahahahahaha!!!!!  In all seriousness, it is being reposted because it is brilliant (Thanks Sheldon…so are you!).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RkqJyMxtbI&feature=youtu.be Continue reading

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Big Ideas, Can Come In Small Packages…

Back in late February, while traveling through the state of Wisconsin, our friend Peter Leidy (http://peterleidy.com/) welcomed my usual traveling partner, Beth Gallagher, and I into his home.

Cheers!

Cheers!

Along with his beautiful wife Betsy, Peter welcomed us not only into his home, but into his neighborhood, walking to local establishments, talking with people he and Betsy clearly have strong connections with, and beaming with pride about the place in which he lives.  The hospitality we experienced ranged from playing frisbee on frozen Lake Monona, Continue reading

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Belonging

In less than two weeks, I will be travelling to New York for a hen party. To be very clear, this is huge for me. When I first read the invitation I almost cried, because I could hardly begin to think of leaving my son for a weekend, yet I could hardly bear to miss the celebration. It might sound trite to want so badly to go on to a party, but the hen do is for my dear childhood friend, Anna, and my travelling companions are the two wonderful women (Stella and Kirsten) who make us into a solid little group of four. And Anna is getting MARRIED, for goodness’ sake!

On holiday in Italy, 1996

On holiday in Italy, 1996

Continue reading

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Garaiocht: A Meditation on an Irish Notion

I just returned from a whirlwind trip around the state of Wisconsin, an amazing experience shared with local folks and fellow teachers/listeners.  As is usually the case after a journey like this, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and overflowing with thoughts and ideas.  Harnessing them all proves difficult so soon after, but John O’Brien (who was a member of our ‘roadtrip’) shared this gem with me halfway through our week.  It from Anthony McCann, Social Philosopher, based out of Ireland.  The discussion around this notion of Garaiocht fits beautifully in with the mission of this here blog.  Thanks for sharing John!!

 

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