So I got a Lovespoon in the mail. Yep. An original, handmade Welsh lovespoon courtesy of John, who runs GoingGently with a soft hand and a witty tongue. I entered his postcard sweepstakes, a fabulous one-off that encouraged us to send him witty/weird/fab postcards so he could single out some of the best. And I sent him one that I got on a visit to a little old town in Illinois, one of those weekend trips that usually leave us with some new trinkets and some lovely memories.
Lovespoons are totally exotic to me. I had no idea they existed. They apparently date back to the XVII century and originated in Germany but they're a Welsh staple. They signaled a young man's ability to do woodworking (and supposedly provide for his family). Quite suitable. Really. Practical and a token of affection. And this one came from Wales. Wales! Nothing farther from my mind and life than Wales. It seems (and it is!) thousands of miles away from my life and knowledge. It's another world, literally. Way far removed from my Midwestern and nosy Chicago life where carving wood is not exactly an everyday occurrence.
And I think this gesture basically symbolizes what blogging is all about: yes, we blog to get the cobwebs out of our heads but also for the sense of community and the fun it brings. The bloggers we follow and talk to online sometimes know more about ourselves and our lives than people who live right next door to us or even family and some friends. When blogging we do without many of the social conventions and prudish sidestepping we use in our daily lives and openly discuss sex, religion and politics as well as our lives and struggles without that varnish we use in our daily lives. I think many of us really breathe when we're online.
I have always found blogging to be cathartic. Both in the sense that I get to exorcize my demons and I get to express my ideas with a post or two. When chatting online with like-minded people or initiating conversations with virtual strangers we expand our horizons and learn about the world and the people on it from a very different perspective. I would not mind meeting the people I follow online. I think that the conversations we have online would work as well face to face with a cup of coffee or even a drink (not like I drink much coffee or alcohol, but you get my drift).
Online I have met the most interesting, caring, warm and funny people ever. So, if you haven't, go check John's collection of postcards. They came from all over the world and were a riot. Also, the comments on the posts will confirm what I just told you: online friendships are fab.
So thank you, John. This spoon is very special to me. I'll consider it a late-birthday gift.