I suppose any season is good for “time travel.” Case in point: The Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Throughout New England and other parts of the country, living museums provide a chance to feel what we could only imagine.
Such places serve to remind us of what we have. Or what we’ve lost.
On a particular Saturday evening, I was reminded of the power of conversation. The Shakers traditionally have family dinners, meaning you sit at a table–often a rather long one–and enjoy supper together. This particular night came via the Food for Thought series, a HSV summer event whereby one sits and enjoys a gourmet farm-to-table dinner and conversation. From June thru August, an author is invited to dine, discuss and engage about a recent book that she/he has published.
The narratives can be compelling. Unsurprisingly, there’s the conversation of getting-to-know a bit more about a person, not the least being the author who’s about to recount a journey of research, writing, editing and more.
Like the author, the guests had their own experiences to share. Most were familiar [snippets of life’s journey from a father-mother-engineer-lawyer-financial manager-medical doctor, e.g.], and others were fascinating to hear and talk about. In attendance was a young student of epidemiology, and I should have talked with him beyond his academic CV [Princeton, then John Hopkins]. It would’ve been fascinating to hear more about the rise of diseases and other ailments that can quickly wreak havoc on populations around the world.
The beauty of talking face-to-face is that beyond the words you hear, you’re also emotionally involved. Expressions, gestures and tone each hint at nuances that can be missed when engrossed with email and text messages.
I enjoy the various digital communication platforms and they can be timely if not helpful. However, there’s still something to be said about connecting with people face-to-face. And that kind of connection can make such a difference in your comings and goings day in, day out.