Saturday, August 16, 2008

Kansas Dialogue Weekend

This is Kansas Dialogue Weekend and it has been my favorite so far of the six I've been to. Kansas Dialogue is an opportunity to gather with people from around the state and have an off-the-record conversation about issues affecting us. The theme this year is "Neighborhoods."

I spoke this morning about "new neighborhoods," referring to online ways of making community. I just glossed over a lot of things, and didn't get nearly as in-depth as I would have liked, but overall it went well I think. There's so much to that topic once you start thinking about it.

I haven't had a chance to really visit with some of the folks I generally see at Kansas Dialogue every  year. It's funny how those things work out - some years you just go in different directions I guess. There are some new folks this time - fascinating people. And our hosts are doing an exceptional job of having everything run smoothly.

There are some people here I don't see any other time of year and I wish I did. I find more than a couple of the people here to be folks I could visit with for many hours and never tire of talking with them.

It would be so cool to have a meetup/conversation with blog readers, but I think it would be a difficult thing to organize. Folks are pretty spread out. But it sure would be fun...

The Journey by Mary Oliver

I was reading some poetry recently and ran across this by Mary Oliver. I haven't read anything by her I haven't liked.

I don't write poetry, and don't even read a lot of poetry, but I've learned to appreciate the turn of phrase that only a master of the language can produce.

I love the last few lines of this poem. They really resonate with me on multiple levels.

The Journey
by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.