The Art of Socializing

The night before the memorial for Sam Grafton, I sat at a table with four women sharing stories, tears, and laughter. Two, Kim and Cate, are incredibly strong women that I’ve admired for years. One, Gwen, I met for the first time and felt an immediate bond with, wondering how I’d gone almost thirty years without meeting her. In a community of 150 people it’s not like there’s a lot of places to hide.

Lisa & Art North Fork bridge

1993 on the old bridge into town

Later, I realized that quiet gathering was the first time I’d ever been invited to dinner by anyone in the town.

Don’t get me wrong; that’s not a statement of self-pity or judgement. I laughed. Because I realized how private our life is. Most likely the same holds true for the majority of people there. I mean, if we were social butterflies we wouldn’t live miles from a grocery store.

I am fully content in just the company of my husband (and son when he lived at home). We get on people overload quickly, and reach that level at the same time. While I can talk to anyone, about anything, anywhere, it’s only for a limited time. And then I’m overwhelmed and need the woods and the quiet, the husband and the dogs, the old house and books.

Mt. Index

View from town

Writing is a solitary endeavor which also impacts time for socializing. I’d rather be in my corner, deep in a story world, then out at some noisy location surrounded by strangers.

I grew up wanting to be a hermit, a writer, and an eccentric who lived in the middle of the woods with a bunch of dogs. So what did I become? A hermit with family. A person who socializes occasionally. A person who socializes online on a blog. And of course, a person with dogs.

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I do enjoy socializing. Just in small groups. And in limited doses. A friend staying for the weekend. A visit with another over tea. During those times we talk and talk and talk, until the husband escapes to his wood shop. With those friends, socializing is comfortable and I never reach people overload.

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The husband preparing for Mustache March – yes that’s a thing on the mountain.

The past few weeks, since Sam died, I’ve been around more people than in years. And there’s comfort in that shared grieving. There’s community. And there’s been those jewel-like moments like dinner with four women around a table.

I’ve learned that socializing for me, isn’t crowds or being out in public, or spending time with acquaintances. It’s sharing with the few who are important in my life, who add to my world, who teach, who care, who surround me with their strength, who make me laugh. And sometimes cry.

You know who you are, even if I see you only once a year. I may not call, I may not drop in for a visit. But my silence isn’t a lack of caring. It’s me excelling in my form of socializing.

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5 thoughts on “The Art of Socializing

  1. And thats why I love you and your men and your animals and your home, which ever place that has been and will be! You are wonderful at being just you. In my world you are perfect! Not perfect like without flaws. I know some of yours and they just make you you. I mean you are the perfect combination of all that is you and makes you the whole you.
    I know I can always come with questions, problems and just to hang out. I know you will always listen, think about it all and give advice, or another point of view. There will be tears and laughter, hugs and tea, lots of tea! And the comforting presence of the animals…
    And most of all you are one of those strong women, that lifts others up and encourages and includes others.
    I am glad you are in my life and that I can bathe in your peace and quiet at “the edge of civilization” when I need a break from city life. It’s so good to just sit with some tea, crocheting, colouring and just talk, talk, talk… 😊

  2. I understand how you feel. Being an artist myself, my work is done in solitude and that doesn’t bother me. I enjoy the company of my animals, plants and my son and occasionally the husband… haha. That is why we live out away from others as well. However, my son is more of a people person and longs for groups of friends around him. It’s hard for him to be alone. The internet is helpful in that we feel we are being social without having to actually be social. I do occasionally like to get together with a couple of friends, just like you. Being out in the boonies makes it where no one wants to come visit! Nice post.

    • And my son chose to move to the city. He’s always in the middle of his group of friends, or out in the busy world. We joke around wondering what we did wrong raising him…Have you noticed that some feel it is too far to drive to your home, but not too far for you to drive to them? One of the little things about living in the boonies.

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