9 AM photo. Twice shoveled already – the wind is just blowing that snow across the walls and onto the stairs. A-a-a-a-h winter.

As I read in D. G. Haskell’s “The Songs of Trees” : The smallest viable genetic unit of microbial life in the ocean is the networked community. This arrangement is efficient, allowing each part of the network to focus on what it does best, but it is vulnerable to disruptions in communications...

I realize, with great appreciation, that I am part of a beautiful networked community. Many, in fact. The most obvious is my dear family. The next is my many sweet friends. But the one that I am referring to at this moment is my art community, my online art community that I joined in the fall of last year.

I had no idea what to expect and I admit to great trepidation. The meetings were for two hours every Wednesday. Two hours? Talking to strangers? And who were these people anyway? I was definitely NOT going to like them. And I was – like any artist – going to be skeptical of anyone else’s art (isn’t that how the art world functions?).

So, in our first meeting, one person was a writer. Relief. Not an artist. The other? What if I hated her work? (likely, I thought).

Listen to me.

And then there was the leader, Martin. What did he have in mind? I was attracted because of his emails – full of wisdom and marketing. I kept finding truth in them. And now – was this group he’d started going to help me find truth in my ability to do more art, or more drastically, put it out in the world?

So, yes, that happened. That did happen.

But what I am realizing today is that something more significant happened. I became part of a network. I realized that – I who live in the middle of nowhere and who am having a weather-induced day indoors (mostly) – that I am part of this community that is there regardless. Always there for me. Paula, Robbie, Leigh, Katrina, much less Martin. I feel so deeply supported.

It didn’t happen overnight. I had head-aches for months during the meetings. And I’m not even aware of when it became something that I welcomed versus dreaded. But, if any select few could shift my deep inner self, these were the ones to do it. These are the ones.

I may miss our meeting tomorrow – because of the snow*. Disruption. I feel it.

(*to drive to pick up my son)