Civility and Snark 

Rockingham Meeting House
rockingham meeting house

This is the Rockingham Meeting House, one of the two oldest church buildings in Vermont, circa 1787, used for early town meetings until the mid-nineteenth century, then abandoned and empty until early twentieth century interest in historical preservation. I’ve heard my father spent summers as a teenager helping maintain this, way back when. The window glass is wavy and flecked, and the mullions seem to have more paint than wood.

Meeting houses and churches were once  where the people used to come together, to listen and discuss and disagree, to talk things out and move forward despite any disagreement.  This no longer holds true.

Many of us now frequent Facebook, or an online newspaper comments, or Reddit, or Instagram, where we can choose what to see and discuss for ourselves, and block or hide what we do not agree with.  I think many of us are always certain of our own opinions, and we watch the comments section like the spectacle it is, with a level of disgust.

What happened to talking civilly about differences in opinion? Was there a time, way back when, when it was possible to have a hot topic discussion without derision, without snarkery, or condescension, or insults?  I am so tired of snarkiness.

When we either don’t see opposing views because we’ve tailored Facebook feeds and news sources to suit our preferences, or we can’t share or discuss opposing views civilly offline or online, we become ever more convinced that our particular views or ways are “right.”

Are we all becoming more insular, isolated, and ever more unable to see the world from another point of view? Unable to talk with people that don’t share our own views? Is that really a good idea?

What we all have in common should be greater than any of our differences.

through a glass darkly
“through a glass, darkly…” view through a window to the other side of the meeting house.

As Summer Turns to Fall

Beehives in the Wild Garden at sunset
Bee hives in the Wild Garden at sunset on a summer afternoon

Our bees did very well this year. The hives are in the Wild Garden, which is a garden next to the woods, edged with white roses and yew.  Inside the hedge of roses and yew, perennial or self-seeding weeds that came up on their own grow freely, tidied by my selective weeding in the first year of the garden’s existence and lightly thereafter, and some additions: some mint, a mysterious yellow tall flower from a friend, and some phlox I had to move from somewhere it wasn’t wanted way back when. You can read more about the Wild Garden here.

summer honey in jars and comb honey all rights reserved Bean & Bantam
Six half-gallon jars of honey, a couple of quarts, cut comb, and the purple bee suit. This picture is an after. The before consists of multiple bee stings, honey and wax covered hands, a sticky garage floor and doorknobs, and a few long hours.

Phlox and tree silouhettes in the wild garden at sunset

It’s been a good summer.T his is a short post, so I’ll link here to my favorite post about summer here, and my favorite post about fall here.