"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break." -Chinese proverb
After my last post, I thought to myself: "Self! You should write about something happy and carefree! Maybe post some photos of kittens, or puppies...babies, perhaps. Things that make you happy!" Then this week was suddenly upon me, with nary a furry creature or cherubic bundle in sight (except for the rather mischievous beady-eyed squirrel that gleefully munches on tomatoes from my backyard plant.)
Instead, I was faced with a sudden proliferation of ghosts, real (the kind that made me flee Facebook suddenly and without much regret) and imagined (the inner demons of a tortured soul, made weaker by nerve-shredding preteen girls.) The happy post will then have to wait, in favor of the pensive. (Admission: Babies don't make me particularly happy, unless they belong to other people and I can give them back quickly once they start fussing. I am actually quite frightened of them.)
I have been thinking a lot about the ways we are all interconnected, through communities and language and common interests and a thousand other things. What is it that brings us together, binds us close to some people and not others? It's funny, isn't it. Even though every person is unique, how many people around the planet overlap that uniqueness? If I said, "Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?" how many of you would scratch your heads, and how many of you would light up and laugh, because a specific memory was stirred up? (And if there is nary a one of you that knows that of which I speak, well then, run away! Run away!)
The metaphor of strings is powerful. The ancient Greeks were particularly fond of stories involving thread: Penelope waiting for Odysseus, weaving her endless tapestry; Ariadne gifting Theseus with a ball of string to help him find his way out of the Minotaur's labyrinth; Arachne getting into an ill-advised weaving competition with Athena. We can be high-strung, or strung along (or, strung out.) I came across the above proverb here at StoryCorps, in a story about adoption. StoryCorps, if you are unfamiliar with it, is an oral history project, and anyone can participate. It's unbelievably interesting to listen to stories about people's lives: their troubles, accomplishments, hopes. Something about it makes you feel a little less adrift in the world.
I love things that make me feel connected to a greater whole. There is another site, The Speech Accent Archive, that is absolutely fascinating. People from all over the world, with different native tongues, read the same fairly nonsensical English passage. Each language has several examples, with male and female speakers from different regions repeating the same handful of words. It's wonderful to compare a native Kirghiz (from Kyrgyzstan! Who knew?) speaker to myself, or to a native Bosnian or Icelandic speaker. I love it when the big, wide world feels just a bit more cozy.
What do you think about connection? Not just romantic - all kinds. Why do we meet who we meet? And when that connection is strong, does it really last forever, even when it may seem to be broken apart? Where does all that energy go?