Biwa Leaf 400X283

Dried loquat leaf in front of my apartment door

Something happened in the blogging world that I had been inhabiting up until sometime around the end of last year. After two years of intense dedication suddenly the magic petered out. I even considered pulling out the stoppers and letting the air out of my own blog. Obviously I haven’t gone that far, but for some reason I have never been able to regain the momentum or enthusiasm I used to have. Maybe it is because I have tired of living vicariously in a digital world and have taken more and more to the world outside my door. I know that another part of the reason is that the close interaction with various like-minded bloggers, some of whom have become friends, seems to have evaporated. Even when I leave comments on many of their blogs or post my own essays there now rarely seems to be a response. People with whom I had had almost daily contact for those two years drifted away like autumn leaves.

Losing this connection to these people has, though I have been unwilling to really acknowledge it, hurt quite a lot, in part because I’m not sure if it was something in my own actions or words that caused the dwindling of interest. Until recently I thought it was just me, but in speaking with and reading a few people it seems the waning magic spreads further than just my own fretting mind. Maria of Alembic mentioned to me in an e-mail that she sensed a dying out of interest in blogging, too. Anne of Under A Bell recently wrote about not feeling the magic any more. Several people I used to read religiously have closed shop and disappeared into substantiality. So it isn’t just me.

When I stare at the blog entry screen now so often it feels like narcissism, pretending to reach out into some kind of network, when really what I am staring at is an opaque mirror, not unlike that of the Evil Queen in Snow White. When the computer lures me often I cannot extricate myself, the cobwebs of interactivity drawing tight around the silence of my solitude and need to speak. It is hard to formulate the truth that in spite of the hours spent cranking out words no voice emanates from the opposite end.

Like Anne I’ve been retreating to books and handwritten journals (and hopefully hand-written letters, as I have promised some friends!) and daily waking at dawn to hunker down among the wild flowers and stock-still vitality of the sprouts in my garden, sometimes poking my camera lens among the leaves to record the lives of all those little creatures that go about their business with full-fledged abandon. I find that I’ve badly missed the chill of the dawn air, the slow drawing of the deep sky, the whisking of dove and duck wings past the edges of the roofs. And, of course the unmistakable gaze of the rising sun…

The blogging world opened lanes with people I would never have gotten to know or speak to without the internet. I still hope to get a chance to meet many of them in person some day. But when the voices begin to die away it is like the rain, I have to forget the effects of their singular passage, and perhaps I, myself, must learn to fade away. If there is one thing that the internet has taught me, it is that not only is life impermanent, but ultimately there is nothing you can touch, either.