welcome flag copy

“The whole island is a welcome sign,” he said. “People here take the time to stop and talk.”

It’s true. This little island is the inverse of life on the mainland. Over there, going slow is an anomaly. Here, rushing to get anywhere is the anomaly. Over there, people get agitated if they are made to wait. Here, people get agitated if they are made to move. Here, people routinely wave as you pass. They acknowledge your presence. Over there, people routinely pretend they don’t see you. Or, they simply don’t see you, their sight so focused on getting to the next thing on the list.

Our neighbors left a note on our door. Came by to meet you. Sorry we missed you. Come over and say hello. So, we did. Two hours and a large glass of mead later, we semi-staggered home feeling as if we’d known our new neighbors forever.

I confess to the disorientation that comes when first entering another culture. This culture, oddly, is not in another country, it is not halfway around the globe. It is a ferry ride just off the tip of Door County. It amused me no end upon first arriving that slowing down, saying hello, stopping to chat, seemed so unusual. So out of the norm.

I like it. It is infectious, this slowing-down-and-stopping-to-talk-to-everyone-thing. It is human scale or, perhaps, it is simply human. Things get done. People get where they need to go and no one gets run over in the process.

Now, in my new culture, stopping to say hello is, somehow, more important than anything I think I need to do; that is to say, self-importance takes a back seat to other-importance. That’s the secret ingredient, I think, the magic sauce to taking time to stop and stand beneath the welcome sign. Plus, sometimes there’s mead! Ahhhh (a coda).

 

read Kerri’s blog post about WELCOME

 

closeup at jonathans website box copy

 

One Response

  1. What you are experiencing is what wee see here in Reno. It really is a bit disorienting at first. Here, at the market, people take the time to return their cart to the front of the store rather than leave it in the parking lot between cars. Clerks engage with each customer. They get their job done but each person feels important. If I am walking across a street cars stop if they see me on the corner even I haven’t yet put a foot onto the street. It is a remarkable phenomenon, this personal attention and caring we are experiencing. Now, when we cross the “Welcome to Nevada” sign on I-80 on a return from the Bay Area we actually find ourselves breathing a sigh of relief and relaxing. We feel like we’ve moved into a new universe and we realize that what we came from is not the norm. It does not represent all of America. We are very happy!

    Love and hugs to you both,

    Arnie

    >

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