What a shame it is––and what sad things it says about humanity––that we live out our lives within a few feet of other human beings and do not even know their names. That we can sit in our homes or apartments, living on top of each other, literally in some cases, and permit the only form of interaction we have to be an occasional passing in the hallway or a silent nod as we each retrieve our mail.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall...perhaps the something human about us.

And yet we keep ourselves siloed, boxed in, safe from each other and the world, defining ourselves by the framed certificates on our office walls or the title (or color or type of embossing) on our business cards, rather than by the people who are part of our lives. And not necessarily by our coworkers, or family, or the friends we choose, but by the people who are necessarily a part of our lives. The people with whom our lives intersect due primarily to proximity––or providence.

The people who would bring our livestock in, as Wendell Berry put it in a speech I heard him give recently, not because we asked them to but because they saw them roaming around on the road.


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