Neighborliness

I enjoy blogging. I enjoy reading blogs.

So how does my affinity for blogging square with my advocacy of agrarian values?

“Stay away from screens,” advises Wendell Berry, who famously owns no computer.

But surely blogging is not necessarily inconsistent with agrarian sensibilities. In fact, I would go so far as to argue that blogging, done well, should be understood an extension of one of the principal agrarian values–that of neighborliness.

Blogging doesn’t replace a chat on the front porch, of course, but to my way of thinking, a recipe shared on a blog is no less friendly or helpful than one passed over a fence. As far as I’m concerned, sharing gardening tips, encouraging or inspirational quotes, a good story, a book recommendation, or pictures of the kids, is being neighborly, whether it’s done at supper, or on a blog.

Mr. Berry’s advice is best considered in context:

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

It seems reasonable to me to think of the internet as a kind of “place.” It’s as good a place as any to be a good neighbor. And there are no unsacred places.

So let me close by doing what any good neighbor would do today.

Merry Christmas y’all.

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