Across a Table

It’s Thanksgiving.  I am home with my parents, with my husband, and with my grandmother, and after sitting down for a meal, we talk.  This is the highlight of the holiday.  This is not small talk.  This is not just funny stories, though we tell those too.  This is not the informative update chatter.  This gets into the fun things.

My husband and I are playing go.  My father looks on, beer in hand, commenting.  We have already talked about cultures and the impact this has on not just worldview but cognition and, potentially, brain structure.  We have already talked about the implications of isolating children from the idea of death, the notion of the “padded world” and its companion phenomenon of increasingly anthropomorphizing animals.  We have talked of the ramifications of viewing the world as merely component bits as opposed to an interconnected series of systems.  Now we apply this to our go game, seeing large patterns, and losing track of them, gaining liberties and losing them, wrangling over space and learning  a sight we didn’t exercise much as children.

This is something I miss.  This kind of connection is one I value.  We could have talked about the weather.  The local sports team.  We could have sat discussing only bits and pieces of things.  But this feels like stretching.  This feels like reaching.  We are extending ideas out to one another, and considering them.

I have heard that romance exists when we are strange to one another.  When, even after years of familiarity, we can look on in wonder at our love interest and see what is different, what is unfamiliar, what challenges us.  When we see great skill in the things that mystify us.  I would contend that community itself exists in this challenge, in this marvel at skill and its sharing.

So over go and talk, we rebuild a home, pushing past the familiar, tossing out hard ideas.  We reach our hands out to encompass the parts of each other’s intellect that are most alien.  We come away bound a little closer for having strained.

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