watching from afar the strangers i’ve grown to love

(image by HannaPritchett via flickr)
(image by HannaPritchett via flickr)

In many ways blog reading (or facebooking, but that’s not my thing) is like peering through the forest, like eavesdropping on a group of people who lie on their backs whispering intimately about the cloud shapes above. Perhaps they see us and turn and smile, or perhaps they give us their backs or find a new spot to sit. We’re never sure. We never feel quite right about watching, listening. Should we be there?

There are times that we smile along with their smiles, sharing in their joys as though we were right there dancing alongside them. Others we find ourselves sinking with dread when we see the wolf or the bear just over the ridge but of course we cannot warn them for we are invisible. When they wince with pain we feel the sharp bite of their agony as we lean against the tree, scratching it with our fingertips until they bleed.

I visit the blogs of  two women I’ve followed forever, one with whom I’ve exchanged a few comments here and there and grown quite fond of. How lax I’d been in paying them a visit, some time gone by.

One, I soon find out, has an aggressive cancer, her beautiful smiling face and thumbs up a valiant attempt to offer some levity to the dreadful situation she is in. She is strong and inspiring, unafraid to embrace with her words the full depth and complexity of her emotions. The good, the bad, the ugly (not to mention the humorous, for she is very funny).

The other, who posts endless photos of her beautiful, exotic life far off, her children always beaming and exploring… this time posts a picture of her youngest, a toddler, bandaged up and spread out on his back, eyes closed, from a hospital bed. Tests are run, no reason other than perhaps, they hope, an abdominal infection the cause of his fevers, his pain.

It is of little import, but I do all that I can, not a meal or a hug but instead a few meager words in a click-on comment, a virtual show of support, and then sink back into my chair, checking in every now and then to see if there is news.

I worry about these strangers I’ve grown to love.


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